John Lennon drawings, prose snapped up at NY auction

John Lennon, Untitled illustration of a four-eyed guitar player, 7 9/10 x 9 1/10 in.; 202 x 233 mm, ink drawing in black on single sheet. Est. $15/25,000. Sold for $109,375 at Sotheby's. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.

John Lennon, Untitled illustration of a four-eyed guitar player, 7 9/10 x 9 1/10 in.; 202 x 233 mm, ink drawing in black on single sheet. Est. $15/25,000. Sold for $109,375 at Sotheby’s. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Drawings and writings by Beatle John Lennon flew off a New York auction block Wednesday, with some fetching four to five times their estimated worth.

Sotheby’s — which conducted the sale — had described the often very simple ink sketches and manuscripts as “the most extensive collection of John Lennon’s original artwork, autograph manuscripts and corrected typescripts ever to come to auction.”

And that appeared to motivate moneyed buyers, who snapped up the 89 lots on offer in just two hours.

Estimated to be worth $850,000 to $1.2 million, the pieces ended up pulling in $2.899 million — including 25 percent buyer’s premium — putting a smile on auctioneer Benjamin Doller’s face as he set down the hammer after the sale of the last lot.

The items comprise the original material that appeared in two books by Lennon — “In His Own Write,” published 50 years ago this year, and “A Spaniard in the Works” that hit the best-seller lists in 1965.

They came from the private collection of London publisher Tom Maschler, creator of the Booker prize.

The most expensive lot — a nine-page, handwritten manuscript titled “The Singular Experience of Miss Anne Duffield” with an estimated worth of $50,000 to $70,000 — went for $209,000, fees included.

Many drawings surpassed the $30,000 mark. The last to hit the auction block, featuring a four-eyed guitar player, garnered $109,375. Its estimated worth prior to the sale was set at $15,000 to $25,000.

A poem, “The Fat Budgie,” written in green ink, whose pre-sale estimate was between $25,000 and $35,000, was snapped up for $143,000.

The drawing of a young boy and six birds that appeared in “A Spaniard in the Works” and that served as a cover for the “Free as a bird” single, fetched $27,500, twice its estimate of $12,000 to $15,000.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


John Lennon, Untitled illustration of a four-eyed guitar player, 7 9/10 x 9 1/10 in.; 202 x 233 mm, ink drawing in black on single sheet. Est. $15/25,000. Sold for $109,375 at Sotheby's. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.

John Lennon, Untitled illustration of a four-eyed guitar player, 7 9/10 x 9 1/10 in.; 202 x 233 mm, ink drawing in black on single sheet. Est. $15/25,000. Sold for $109,375 at Sotheby’s. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.

John Lennon, 'The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield,' autograph manuscript. Est. $50/70,000. Sold for $209,000 at Sotheby's. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.

John Lennon, ‘The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield,’ autograph manuscript. Est. $50/70,000. Sold for $209,000 at Sotheby’s. All rights of reproduction reserved to the Estate of the late John Lennon.