John Lennon’s ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’ acoustic guitar, found in an English attic, heads to Julien’s May 29-30

John Lennon's studio- and screen-used 1964 Framus Hootenanny 5/024 12-string acoustic guitar, estimated at $600,000-$800,000 at Julien's.

NEW YORK — John Lennon’s long-lost Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar has been rediscovered and is coming to auction. The guitar and its original Maton case will be offered at Julien’s on Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday, May 30 as part of the Music Icons sale. It has an estimate of $600,000-$800,000.

The Hootenanny, long believed to have been lost, was used by Lennon in the recording of The Beatles’ Help! album (it featured on the singles Help! and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away), and was played by George Harrison on the rhythm track for Norwegian Wood.

According to Julien’s, it was recently found in an attic in a home in the British countryside during a house move. Executive directors and co-founders Darren Julien and Martin Nolan traveled to the UK to view it and confirm the discovery.

Darren Julien describes it as “the greatest find of a Beatles guitar since Paul McCartney’s lost 1961 Höfner bass guitar. It still looks and plays like a dream after having been preserved in an attic for more than 50 years.” He believes it could set a new auction record for the highest-selling Beatles guitar, currently standing at $2.4 million bid at Julien’s in 2015 for the Gibson J-160E acoustic used by Lennon and McCartney to write and perform songs during 1962 and 1963.

Julien’s Music Icons sale, which will be staged at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan, includes a remarkable array of star-touched guitars. Back at auction after almost 20 years is Prince’s yellow Cloud 3. One of his centerpiece instruments, it was used on stage from the mid-80s to the early 90s, including during the Purple Rain, Parade, Sign of the Times, Lovesexy, and Diamonds & Pearls tours.

Julien’s verified the Cloud 3’s provenance by conducting a full CT scan and interviewing Dave Rusan, the luthier behind its creation in 1985. Previously sold by Christie’s for £4,200 (about $5,280) in 2005 and then on Ebay for a price less than its original listing of £59,000 ($74,240), it is now estimated at $400,000-$600,000.

Julien’s has previously sold Prince’s yellow Cloud ($225,000), his ‘Blue Angel’ Cloud 2 ($563,500), and his blue teal Cloud ($700,000).

Robert Salmon maritime paintings from Scotland saw smooth sailing at Stair

Robert Salmon, 'The Custom House Quay, Greenock, Scotland', which sold for $34,000 ($43,520 with buyer's premium) at Stair.

HUDSON, NY – Two oils by the Anglo American marine artist Robert Salmon, painted while he lived and worked in Scotland, were offered by Stair on April 25. His 1820 view of The Custom House Quay, Greenock and an 1818 painting titled The Pomona of Greenock Riding at Anchor hammered at $34,000 ($43,520 with buyer’s premium) and $28,000 ($35,840 with buyer’s premium), respectively.

Although Salmon (1775-1858) is often considered an American marine artist (he emigrated to Boston in 1828), he was born in the English port of Whitehaven and spent time working in both Liverpool, England and Greenock, Scotland in the 1810s and 1820s.

When he painted the local customs house in 1820, the handsome Georgian building was just two years old. Designed by Scottish architect William Burn (1789-1870) at a cost of £30,000, the building only ceased to be used as a customs and excise office in 2010. This 2ft 3in by 23in painting is the example illustrated in the 1971 book Robert Salmon, Painter of Ship and Shore by John Wilmerding. The work was estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Salmon’s oeuvre displays a deep familiarity with sailing ships. Most adopt the traditional practice of showing the same vessel in at least two positions on the same canvas. The Pomona of Greenock Riding at Anchor is inscribed and dated 1818. Again measuring 2ft 3in by 23in, this work is pictured in Alan Granby’s A Yachtsman’s Eye, published in 2004, and appears to be the same canvas as the one offered at Sotheby’s Parke Bernet as part of the Paul Mellon (1907-1999) sale in 1981. It was estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

Both paintings were described as being in generally good condition, with craquelure, scattered inpainting, and some repaired tears.

In 1828, Salmon left Liverpool, arriving in Boston on New Year’s Day in 1829. During the growth of Boston Harbor in the first half of the century, Salmon painted the scene between 300-400 times. Salmon’s English period paintings are typically more modestly priced than those completed in North America.

Bid Smart Briefs: Mirrors

Line Vautrin Boudoir convex mirror, which sold for $78,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2023. Image courtesy of South Bay Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK – We have always been desperate to get a good look at ourselves. The earliest known mirror, found near what is now Konya, Turkey, dates to 6200 BC, predating the Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages. It was made from obsidian, a form of black glass produced by volcanic eruptions.

Human beings did make mirrors out of bronze and copper when metal-working advances allowed, but before then, the materials fashioned into tools to show us our own faces included mica, marble, selenite, slate, pyrite (aka fool’s gold), anthracite (a type of coal), hematite and magnetite (both are iron ores), and in China, polished jade. Pretty much any substance that could take a shine met the need.

The leading civilizations of the ancient world embraced mirrors, none more so than the Egyptians (how else were they to apply their beloved cosmetics?). Even the most modest ancient Egyptian graves contained a mirror, even if it was just a piece of wood painted to mimic one. The Romans fitted their public baths with mirrors, prompting Seneca to comment, “We think ourselves poorly off, living like paupers, if the walls [of the baths] are not ablaze with large and costly mirrors.” And, of course, the ancient Greeks, via Ovid, gave us the myth of Narcissus, the young man who fell in love with his own reflection.

For centuries, mirror-making was cutting-edge technology, and mirrors were regarded as luxury goods. According to Mark Pendergast’s 2003 book Mirror Mirror: A History of the Human Affair with Reflection, “At the beginning of the sixteenth century, a Venetian mirror in an elaborate silver frame was valued at 8,000 pounds, nearly three times the contemporary price of a painting by Raphael.” When King Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, opened the partially finished Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in 1668, visitors were awestruck. More than 350 years later, they still are.

Mirrors are no longer seen as miraculous or magical, except perhaps those fitted inside the massive telescopes that are revealing the secrets of the skies far beyond our home planet. Nor do we need mirrors to amplify and spread light – electricity has assumed that role. Nonetheless, we love mirrors and place at least a few in our homes. The desire to own a mirror that is as beautiful, or even more beautiful, than those who gaze into it is natural and normal, and not at all narcissistic. But when presented with the mirrors shown in this slideshow, you might find yourself looking a little longer than you intended.