Lennon 'Paperback Writer' guitar tops auction offerings

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Lennon 'Paperback Writer' Guitar Tops Auction Offerings

By Edward Baran

(Reuters) - A Gretsch guitar that John Lennon played for the recording of the Beatles' hit song "Paperback Writer" and then gave to his cousin is expected to fetch up to $1 million (630,000 GBP) at auction in Britain this week.

Auction house TracksAuction.com said the Gretsch 6120 instrument was one of the most significant Lennon guitars to come on the market in the last 30 years.

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Lennon 'Paperback Writer' guitar tops auction offerings
LONDON - 16th JUNE: John Lennon (1940-1980) from The Beatles performs 'Rain' and 'Paperback Writer' on BBC TV show 'Top Of The Pops' in London on 16th June 1966. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)
 In this file picture taken on )ctober 26, 1965 Beatles fans try to break through a police line at Buckingham Palace in London where the group were due to receive the Member of the British Empire (MBE) decoration from the Queen.   The Beatles' debut tune that launched Britain into the '60s and helped to ignite a worldwide obsession for the four-man British rock band celebrates its 50th anniversary on October 5, 2012.  Even though it only  peaked at no. 17 on the British charts, the single "Love Me Do" was the rock group's first hit record when released in October 1962.   AFP PHOTO/FILES        (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages)
Liverpudlian pop group The Beatles on Granada TV's Late Scene Extra television show filmed in Manchester, England on November 25, 1963.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles in Studio 2 at Abbey Road in London recording the single 'She Loves You', 1st July 1963. Lennon plays a Gibson J160E acoustic guitar and McCartney a Hofner 500/1 violin bass. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
1st February 1968: Beatle Paul McCartney gives the thumbs up during production of the new Beatles film, a feature length cartoon called 'Yellow Submarine'.   (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Ringo Starr In A Garden Listening To A Hit Song During Sixties,  (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10:  Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records presents the Beatles with Gold Record at the Hotel Plaza.  (Photo by Paul DeMaria/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Teenage reactions to pop group The Beatles during their performance in Washington DC, America, on February 11, 1964.  (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
The Beatles rehearse for that night's Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre, 4th November 1963. The Queen Mother will attend. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
June 1967:  The Beatles at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, as they prepare for 'Our World', a world-wide live television show broadcasting to 24 countries with a potential audience of 400 million.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 20:  Photo of BEATLES and Paul McCARTNEY and John LENNON and Ringo STARR; L-R. Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison - posed, group shot at Press call for Sgt Pepper Album launch  (Photo by Cummings Archives/Redferns)
The Beatles relax in a hotel room in Paris, 16th January 1964. From left to right, John Lennon (1940 - 1980), George Harrison (1943 - 2001), band manager Brian Epstein (1934 - 1967), Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. (Photo by Harry Benson/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney performs during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.. AFP PHOTO / POOL / CAMERON SPENCER        (Photo credit should read Cameron Spencer/AFP/GettyImages)
Former Beatles' singer Sir Paul McCartney gives a thumb up after being awarded by French president as officer of the "Legion d'Honneur" (Legion of honour), the French hightest award on September 8, 2012 at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris.   AFP PHOTO / POOL PHILIPPE WOJAZER        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/GettyImages)
British musician, former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr performs live during his concert at the Congress Center on June 29, 2011in Prague, Czech Republic.(Photo by Tomas Krist/isifa/Getty Images)
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"It's come directly from John Lennon's cousin, who was given it by John Lennon in 1967 and he's had it ever since, so for collectors of Beatles memorabilia to have a provenance like that is exceptional," the auction house said.

Lennon gave the guitar to his cousin David Birch a year after the hit single was produced at London's Abbey Road studio.

Birch, who grew up with Lennon in Liverpool, said he had received the instrument after asking his older cousin if he had a guitar he no longer wanted.

"I was just cheeky enough to ask him for a guitar and he gave me the Gretsch and of course I was very pleased, simple as that, really. Sounds a bit cheeky but it didn't seem cheeky at the time," Birch, 66, told Reuters.

Asked why he had decided to sell the guitar after so long, Birch said: "Well, I'm not getting any younger, I've had it 47 years. And it was just in the bedroom, you know, and I used to pick it up every now and then and play around with it."

After leaving the Gretsch factory in New York, the guitar has had only two documented owners - Lennon and Birch.

This week's auction of rock and pop memorabilia also includes a copy of the LP "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" signed by all four Beatles in red ballpoint pen. It is expected to sell for up to 150,000 pounds ($240,000).

Also for sale are three school detention sheets relating to Lennon retrieved from a clear-out of a room at Liverpool's Quarry Bank High School in the 1970s.

Lennon attended the school between 1952 and 1957 and one of the sheets shows he received a detention for "singing at the top of (his) voice in the corridor". They are each expected to sell for up to 6,000 GBP each.

The auction opens for online bidding on Friday.

(Editing by Michael Roddy and Gareth Jones)

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