McCartney’s first guitar goes for £330,000 at auction

Key piece of Beatles of memoribilia sells for three times estimate

The guitar on which Paul McCartney learnt to play has been sold at auction for £330,000.

The Rex acoustic guitar went for more than three times its estimate in the sale at London’s Abbey Road Studios yesterday (July 28).

It was being sold by McCartney’s old school-friend Ian James who will use the money to fund his retirement.


James is key to the Beatles development and the guitar’s early story. It was he who taught Sir Paul some new chords, which he then used to woo John Lennon at a Liverpool fete.

Lennon was playing with his band The Quarrymen and McCartney showed up with the Rex guitar and “showed him a few chords he didn’t know.” The guitar Lennon was playing on that auspicious day was sold at auction for £155,500 in 1999.

Two photographs were included in yesterday’s sale to prove the instrument’s authenticity.

In one, Sir Paul is seen playing the guitar in his office earlier this year. The other, taken by McCartney 49 years ago, shows a young Ian James with the instrument.

The guitar was bought by a Mr Jackson, who himself owns an auction company.

“This is such an important piece of rock history and I am an extremely happy man tonight,” he said. “Without this guitar The Beatles may never have existed and it is a fantastic acquisition.”