Beatle for Sale: Lennon Writings Bring $3 million
âBaby, youâre a rich man,â sang John Lennonâand youâd have to be to afford âThe Fat Budgie.â
Some of the most deeply personal works of John Lennon went to the highest bidder this week, as Sothebyâs auction house in New York offered up an extensive collection of original poetry, short stories and illustrations composed by the late Beatle.
The 89 works on auction June 4 brought in just under $3 million--$209,000 alone bought Lennonâs nine-page Sherlock Holmes sendup, âThe Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield.â Other big-ticket items included a humorous poem titled âThe Fat Budgieâ ($143,000), and a drawing of a four-eyed guitarist ($109,375).
The pieces in the collection were first seen in In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, Lennonâs books of pun-filled poetry and parodical short stories published in the mid-1960s. British publisher Tom Maschler has had the collection since the two books came out in 1964 and 1965, respectively.
Several items went for far more than expected. Among the surprises were âI Sat Belonely,â a handwritten manuscript which enjoyed a winning bid of $137,000, and a piece titled âNeville Club,â which sold for $100,000.
John Lennon fans largely think of his mid-â60s period as the time his songwriting took an acoustic-tinged self-reflective turn, as songs such as âYouâve Got to Hide Your Love Awayâ and âIn My Lifeâ revealed a softer side to the Beatles frontman. But in a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon described his fiction and drawings as being an even greater personal outlet than his songs.
The books, he told the magazine, contained âthe personal stories which were expressive of [his] personal emotions.â
For a peak at Lennon during his introspective mid-60s period, check out the above clip of âYouâve Got to Hide Your Love Awayâ from the movie Help!