Lennon Auction Brings In Less Than Expected
An auction of John Lennon memorabilia raised far less money than expected Monday night, with high-priced items such as the former Beatle's Phantom Vox organ guitar failing to sell.
Although 70 percent of the items up for grabs were bought by Fab Four fans, the auction raised a total of 70,000 pounds (US$111,000), much lower than the estimated 700,000 pounds (US$1.1 million), because the most expensive items were not sold, the Cooper Owen auctioneers said.
The prototype organ guitar was given to Lennon at a Beatles show in 1964 and was expected to fetch up to 140,000 pounds (US$222,000). The top bid of 90,000 pounds (US$143,000) failed to reach the reserve price.
Another no-go was Lennon's largest known visual arts creation, a mosaic called "All Seeing Eye," which had been installed in a swimming pool at a mansion that Lennon that shared with his first wife, Cynthia. Bids didn't even reach half the precaution estimate of 200,000 pounds (US$318,000).
Two tapes recorded by John and his second wife, Yoko Ono, at the home of Yoko's ex-husband, Tony Cox, in Denmark in 1970 also failed to sell. The tapes featured John playing impromptu songs to and with Yoko's daughter, Kyoko.
Three items that were purchased by one unidentified buyer raised questions about his or her identity.
_A doodle by Lennon of "floating clouds and a Hitler-like figure selling death cigs" fetched 7,000 pounds (US$11,000).
_ A page from one of his notebooks with handwritten lyrics to the song "Steel & Glass" sold for 15,000 pounds (US$24,000).
_An identity card that Lennon had signed while working at a waterworks facility in his hometown of Liverpool in 1959 went for 6,500 pounds (US$10,300). The day after he left that poorly paid job, he played his first gig with the band that became the Beatles.
A spokesman for Cooper Owen, who held the auction in London, said the three items were bought by an agent for a Japanese investor. But he refused to say whether it was Yoko Ono.