John Lennon Piano Comes Up For Sale

Andy Warhol once borrowed it...

A piano once owned by John Lennon is set to come up for sale at auction.

Alex Cooper Auctioneers (ACA) in Towson, Maryland are set to auction the piano, which was purchased by John Lennon in 1978. The purchase came at the end of a period of semi-retirement for the Beatles legend, who stepped back from his solo career following the birth of son Sean Ono Lennon.

Music never quite left his life, however, and the purchase of this piano propelled him forwards. According to Alex Cooper Auctioneers (ACA), John Lennon bought the Concert Grand Model D piano in 1978 from the Baldwin Factory Store in New York City.

The instrument didn’t seem to stick, though, and in an act of generosity John Lennon gifted the piano to his friend, Sam Green. A bold figure in the arts world, Green organised Andy Wathol’s first American museum exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Ahead of the gifting, John Lennon and Yoko Ono arranged for a plaque to be displayed on the instrument – placed on the front of the piano, it reads ‘For Sam Love from Yoko and John 1979’.

The piano didn’t quite leave John Lennon’s life, however. John and Yoko used to visit Sam Green at his home on Fire Island, and spent time alone writing songs on the instrument – some of which wound up recorded for his 1980 album ‘Double Fantasy’.

In another twist, Sam Green once loaned the piano to Andy Warhol – who then displayed it prominently in the offices of Interview magazine, in New York.

After this, Green loaned the piano to the New York Academy of Art, who allowed pupils to play it. This turns out to have been a fateful decision – when the arts figure asked for it to be returned, it transpired that the piano had been sold to a local piano tuner, Harold Katz, for $3000.

Sam Green attempted to sue the school, but his case was dismissed. The piano was found in the possession of an Alabama man named Buddy Bain. (via ArtNews)

The piano – complete with plaque, and the inevitable signs of wear – will be sold at auction. Bidding opens September 30th with an estimated value of $2 million–$3 million.

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