Experts believe a New Jersey woman has found the legendary 1964 sunburst Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, and pages of typed and handwritten lyrics that were in the guitar case, according to Rolling Stone.
The owner, Dawn Peterson, says her late father was a pilot who worked for Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, in the ’60s. “After one flight, my father saw there were three guitars left on the plane,” she said, according to Rolling Stone. “He contacted the company a few times about picking the guitars up, but nobody ever got back to him.”
Dylan memorabilia collector Jeff Gold and vintage-instrument specialist Andy Babiuk verified the find on PBS’s History Detectives. “A vast percentage of the stuff I get shown isn’t real,” says Gold. “By nature, I’m a defeatist. But this was obviously real.”
If real, the guitar could be worth as much as $1 million. However, Dylan could be entitled to those proceeds, or could stop its sale altogether, since he didn’t intentionally give it away in the first place.
Still, Dylan’s attorney Orin Snyder denies the legitimacy of the Stratocaster, saying Dylan has the original guitar himself. “He did own several other Stratocaster guitars that were stolen from him around that time, as were some handwritten lyrics,” Snyder said in a statement.
The legitimacy of the handwritten and typed lyrics doesn’t seem to be in question. Gold confirmed that certain phrases on the discovered sheets ended up on Blonde on Blonde, and that the handwriting is indeed Dylan’s.