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John Lennon's Cousin To Auction Off Guitar Used To Write "Paperback Writer"

by Shawn Christ   Oct 6, 2014 14:52 PM EDT

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Musician plays guitar during his own brain surgery

The guitar John Lennon used to create The Beatles' 1966 hit "Paperback Writer" is projected to bring in more than $960,000 when it's auctioned off in November.  

The Telegraph  reports that the Gretsch 6120 was a gift from Lennon to his cousin David Birch in 1967. Birch told the newspaper how the guitar came into his possession. "I was just cheeky enough to ask John for one of his spare guitars," Birch, who was thinking about starting his own band at the time, said. "I had my eye on a blue Fender Stratocaster that was lying in the studio but John suggested the Gretsch and gave it to me as we were talking.''

Birch's mother Harriet was the sister of Lennon's mother Julia, who died in 1958 after being struck by a car. Lennon ended up staying with his Aunt Mimi in Woolton, near Birch's childhood home, before the Beatle years began. 

"Paperback Writer" was written for the group's seventh album, Revolver, but was released as an A-side single with "Rain." The song went straight to number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, only to be dethroned two weeks later by Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night." Revolver had several standouts including "Eleanor Rigby," "Here, There and Everywhere," "Yellow Submarine" and "Got to Get You Into My Life." 

Bidding for the guitar begins Nov. 14, with the auction being held in London on Nov. 23. The buyer will be only the third-documented owner of the instrument along with Lennon and Birch. 

Just last week, a signed copy of The Beatles' debut album Please Please Me went for $36,655 on eBay.

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