Imagine! John Lennon Sketches and Writings Fetch $2.9M at Auction

John Lennon's ink drawing of a four-eyed guitarist fetched $109,375 at Sotheby's auction house in New York on Wednesday.
John Lennon's ink drawing of a four-eyed guitarist fetched $109,375 at Sotheby's auction house in New York on Wednesday. The auction of Lennon's art and writings brought in $2.9 million.SOTHEBY'S AUCTION HOUSE / EPA

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Money may not buy me love... but lots of it can buy some of Beatle John Lennon's drawings and writing.

Original sketches and poems by the late singer and guitarist sold on Wednesday for $2.9 million at Sotheby's auction house in New York. The works, sold in 89 separate lots, had been included in Lennon's books, "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard in the Works," published in the mid-1960s at the height of Beatlemania.

The books' British publisher, Tom Maschler, owned the material for a half century and offered it for sale in the largest private collection of Lennon's work to come to the market.

John Lennon performs at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1972. His drawings and writings fetched $2.9 million at Sotheby's auction house in New York on Wednesday.AP

The final auction total of $2,899,000, including buyer's premium which varies from 12 percent to 25 percent depending on the value, was almost three times Sotheby's pre-sale estimate.

The hammer came down on four items for over $100,000 each. The most expensive was $209,000 paid for Lennon's nine-page Sherlock Holmes parody titled "The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield." A nonsense poem, "The Fat Budgie," sold for $143,000 and an ink drawing of a four-eyed guitar player went for $109,375.

Even Paul McCartney's typed introduction to "In His Own Write," in which he recalled meeting Lennon when they were 12, sold for $37,500. All the buyers were anonymous.

Before forming the Beatles with McCartney, Lennon attended Liverpool School of Art. Maschler called Lennon a man of "extraordinary talent and imagination" whose art has been underrated and he hoped the auction would "redress the balance."

"In His Own Write," a collection of 31 short stories and poems, full of puns and spelling errors, published in 1964, was a big hit with reviewers, who compared Lennon to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. A year later, "A Spaniard in the Works" was published, containing more humorous and nonsensical stories.

Lennon once told the BBC his stories were short because he typed slowly: "I couldn't be bothered going on."