More than 100 of John Lennon’s manuscripts, including poems, line drawings, and stories, hit the auction block earlier this week, and they collectively brought in more than double their estimated price, The New York Times reports.
The material dates from the mid-1960’s, deriving from the two books that John Lennon published during his lifetime, In His Own Write (1964) and A Spaniard in the Works (1965). The 89 pieces have long been held by Lennon’s UK publisher, Tom Maschler. When they were sold this past Wednesday (June 4), they represented the largest private collection of Lennon’s work to ever come to market, according to Sotheby’s, which handled the auction.
A nonsensical poem of Lennon’s, The Fat Budgie, sold for $143,000, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $35,000, while an ink drawing of a guitar player fetched $137,000. The highlight of the auction was a parody of Sherlock Homes that Lennon authored, entitled The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield. The manuscript, which was included in Lennon’s A Spaniard in the Works, brought in $209,000, The Guardian reports.
Gabrial Heaton, the deputy director of the books and manuscripts department at Sotheby’s, said in a statement, “The outstanding result, the first white glove sale of 2014 at Sotheby’s New York, shows that Lennon’s nonsense verse, puns, wicked humor and comic drawings continue to resonate 50 years after the publication of In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Maschler, who created the prestigious Booker literary prize, spoke about the unique relationship he had with John Lennon over the project, saying that he had to “inspire in him the confidence to write and produce the drawings.” Mark Lewisohn, a Beatles historian, remarked also about the amount of material Lennon produced, saying, “At that time it was really just for the entertainment of the others so they were cramped in their van going from gig to gig and we would be scribbling this stuff and then reading aloud and the others were all cracking up. They loved John’s sense of humor.”
As NBC news reports, the final auction total of $2,899,000 was almost three times the original sales estimate for the collection. Lennon, who died at age 40 after being shot in New York, attended the Liverpool School of Art before forming the Beatles with Paul McCartney. Though reviewers compared Lennon’s work to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, John Lennon’s art “has been underrated,” according to Maschler, who hopes the auction will help to rectify that fact.