Piano Once Owned By John Lennon Soon on Sale

Piano Once Owned By John Lennon Will Soon Be on Sale, in September at Alex Cooper Auctioneers (ACA) in Towson, Maryland.

Jul 30, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
John Lennon piano
John Lennon. Via Allriot


Piano once owned by John Lennon, and also Andy Warhol will soon be on Sale at Alex Cooper Auctioneers in Towson, Maryland. A piano, the Baldwin grand, was in possession of  two influential artists of the last century. Lennon bought the Concert Grand Model D piano in 1978 in New York, from the Baldwin Factory Store. That’s how the history of this instrument began and continued to circulate to other artists.


Lennon Composed “Double Fantasy” on This Piano

John Lennon and Yoko Ono gifted  the instrument to their friend Sam Green. The piano will be up for auction in September. ALEX COOPER AUCTIONEERS


In 1979, Lennon gifted the instrument to his friend, art dealer and curator Sam Green. Green managed Warhol’s first American museum exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. There is also an engraved inscription on the instrument above the logo, and says: “For Sam Love from Yoko and John 1979”.


Green was close friend with both Lennon and his wife. Spouses often stayed e at Green’s home on Fire Island. This island was also a place where Lennon composed his music and played the instrument. Also, some of the songs written there were a part of his album with his wife. For example, there is “Double Fantasy”.


Yoko Ono and John Lennon, New York by Annie Leibovitz, 1980, via Sotheby’s


Then, in 1983 Green loaned Warhol the instrument he received. After that, he displayed it prominently at the Interview magazine offices in New York City. In 1988, after its display in the Interview offices, Green loaned the piano to the New York Academy of Art. Warhol was the academy’s cofounder. He used it for “special events”.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Why Was Warhol Dissapointed With the Instrument?

The Lennon Wall, Prague, via Smithsonian Magazine, Washington D.C.


That proved out to be a poor choice for Green. He requested for the instrument to be recovered after learning in 2000 that it was being “misused” and was being played daily by students. The piano, however, was no longer in the institution’s hands. The school sold it. They also sold additional “deaccessioned pianos” gathering, located in the lower levels of the school.


The school sold the piano to man called Harold Katz, for a meager $3,000. Green sued the school—which argued that Green had donated the piano, not lent it—for $1.6 million. The piano was eventually found at the Mercersburg Academy, a college-prep boarding school in Pennsylvania. The boarding school acquired the instrument from Katz by an Alabama man named Buddy Bain, for around $100,000.


Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Abba To Zappa Exhibition: A Hong Kong Exhibition Celebrates Music Legends. 2019. Photo: Gijsbert Hanekroot


While the piano visibly shows the wear and tear of its travels, dings in the enamel, a circle melted in the finish, possibly from an ash tray or oil lamp, the auction house says the instrument is playable and will be tuned before it’s sold. Bidding opens September 30 with an estimated value of $2 million–$3 million.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.