A 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar owned by Johnny Ramone has sold for nearly $1 million at auction. The instrument was the late Ramones legend’s “main guitar” for two decades, and luckily escaped being stolen during a 1983 theft that cleaned the Ramones out of most of their gear.
The guitar was sold by Daniel Rey, who produced Ramones albums and co-wrote songs with the band. He had bought the guitar from Johnny around the time the Ramones broke up. The winning bid via the Boston-based company RR Auction was $937,500. According to the VP of the auction house, Bobby Livingston, “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.”
Per the auction site, Johnny purchased the guitar in October 1977 to replace his previous blue Ventures II model, which had been stolen out of a Sire Records van along with other Ramones gear in Chicago. The new guitar was customized before Johnny got his hands on it, with the basswood body refinished in white along with several technical modifications.
In 1983, the Ramones once again had all their gear stolen in Los Angeles, but thankfully Johnny’s Mosrite was in his hotel room at the time.
Not only does the guitar represent a rare piece of Ramones history, the model itself is hard to come by, as Mosrite only manufactured roughly 100-150 of the slab-bodied Ventures II guitars in 1965.
The back of the guitar is signed, “Johnny Ramone, My Main Guitar, 1977-1996.” As the description further points out, the auction included other mementos along with the guitar, which Johnny (real name: John Cummings) played at the Ramones final show in 1996:
“There is extreme wear on the back of the neck from the first to fifth fret from playing. Likewise, the guitar exhibits numerous nicks, dings, and wear to the finish. Secured to the guitar with gaffer’s tape is Cummings’ original ‘Straps Unlimited, Inc.’ brand strap and three Ramones picks, which, along with the original strings, were used at the last Ramones show, which occurred at The Palace in Los Angeles, California on August 6, 1996.”
Johnny Ramone passed away in 2004 at the age of 55 during a tragic three-year period that also saw the deaths of singer Joey Ramone (2001) and bassist Dee Dee Ramone (2002). Drummer Tommy Ramone died in 2014, leaving no original living members of the legendary punk band.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Saturday Night Live‘s Pete Davidson would be playing Joey Ramone in an upcoming Netflix movie about the punk singer. As of yet, it hasn’t been revealed who will play Johnny and the rest of the Ramones.
See a video promo of the Johnny Ramone Mosrite Ventures II below.