Johnny Ramone's guitar sells at auction for over $900,000

Johnny Ramone's guitar
(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

An electric guitar once owned by John William Cummings – aka Johnny Ramone – has gone under the hammer, and has been sold for a whopping $937,500.

The instrument was used on every Ramones album, and is estimated to have been played at around 1,985 of their shows between 1977 and their eventual disbandment in 1996. Obviously, the guitar holds significant historical value, and is arguably the most important instrument in all of punk rock – which then of course, explains its bank-breaking price.

Although mostly in good condition, the guitar – a 1965 Mosrite Ventures II – features numerous areas of wear, most likely caused by hours of use and Cummings' trademark vigorous down-stroke playing style. 

According to guitar historian Chris Lamy, Cummings purchased the guitar in 1977, to replace his previous one that was stolen from a van along with the band's gear following a gig at the Chicago's Aragon Ballroom.

The new proud owner of the remarkable piece of history – who wishes to remain anonymous – bought the guitar at RR Auction on September 25, as well as its original strap, strings and three picks, all of which were included in the listing. Of the guitar, the listing read:

"Cummings [aka Johnny Ramone] originally purchased this guitar between October 23, 1977 and October 30, 1977, to replace his original blue Ventures II slab body, which was stolen from the Sire Records van (with rest of the band’s gear) on the night of October 22, 1977, after the band’s show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Ironically, this guitar had been offered to Cummings earlier in 1977, but he passed on it feeling it was too expensive at $500, which was a little less than 10 times what he paid for his original Ventures II in 1974."

Other items featured were Cummings' Mark-2 signature guitar ($47,000), microphones used by frontman Joey Ramone during the band's final concert  at The Palace in Los Angeles on August 6, 1996 ($13,000), and lyrics handwritten by Joey for She Talks to Rainbows, which sold for just under $4,000.

Executive VP at RR Auction Bobby Livingston says, “The consignor was thrilled with the results and is very happy that the guitar is in the hands of someone who will curate Johnny Ramone's Mosrite for future generations to enjoy".

Guitar owned by Johnny Ramone

(Image credit: RR Auction)
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.