The 1962 Gibson J-160E was used by Lennon to record several early Beatles hits, including I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please, Please, Me, All My Loving, From Me to You and P.S. I Love You, and was one of a pair of guitars purchased by the late rocker and bandmate George Harrison.

The guitar, which went missing following a Fab Four concert in London in 1963, was deemed "the most important Beatle guitar ever to hit the auction block," by organisers at Los Angeles-based Julien's Auctions, and was expected to sell for between $600,000 (£375,000) and $800,000 (£500,000).

However, bidding on the instrument soared way past its valuation as it was snapped up by a mystery buyer over the weekend (07-08Nov15), setting a new record for rock memorabilia.

Meanwhile, the drum head used by the band in its first U.S. performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 was also a big draw, selling for more than $2 million (£1.25 million).