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John Lennon


The Top Five pieces of John Lennon memorabilia

Shot down before his time 30 years ago, John Lennon's legacy is as strong as ever

Thirty years ago tomorrow, on December 8 in 1980, John Lennon's day was little out of the ordinary.

Early in the day he took part in a photo shoot and later signed autographs for some fans before heading on to the Record Plant Studio.

Sadly, one of those fans was Mark Chapman who shot Lennon in the back outside his home a few hours later.

Whilst Lennon died before his time, he is anything but forgotten and indeed his legacy goes from strength to strength.

One sign of the ongoing interest in Lennon is the collectible industry's PFC40 Autographs Index, which has seen Lennon's autograph rise in value by 756.1% over the past 10 years - a huge leap from 695 to 5,950.

With that in mind, here's a look at our favourite five John Lennon collectibles.

The Talisman Necklace

The necklace was worn by Lennon on the notorious cover of his 1968 album with Yoko Ono, Two Virgins. It was sold to a private collector in 2008 for $528,000.

The LP - Lennon's collaborative debut with his artist wife, Ono - is famous for its avant garde content featuring the ex-Beatle experimenting with various instruments and sound effects over tape loops.

Later editions of the album obscured the album cover's controversial depiction of John and Yoko naked, protecting their modesty beneath a brown paper bag.

Mark Chapman's signed Lennon album

When John Lennon signed a copy of his Double Fantasy album for a fan on the morning of December 8, 1980, he could never have known he was signing his life away.

But that fan was Mark Chapman, who returned hours later to the Dakota Buildings and cemented his own dark place in music history by murdering his idol.

Mark Chapman's album signed by Lennon

Described as "the most extraordinary artefact in rock 'n' roll history", Chapman's signed album was not only Lennon's last ever signature but also a crucial part of evidence in Chapman's trial (as it features his fingerprints). It is selling at auction this week, with an estimate of $850,000.

Thehand painted Rolls Royce Phantom V

Lennon had his matt black overall Rolls Royce repainted with 'psychedelic' scrolls and flowers by J.P. Fallon Limited, a coachworks company located in Chertsey, Surrey.

He also had the rear seat modified to convert to a double bed, and installed a custom interior/exterior sound system with a 'loud hailer' along with a Sony television and portable refrigerator.

The car was sold by Sotheby's to Canadian businessman Jim Pattison in 1985 for $2.23m.

Beatles Lyrics

John Lennon's autographed lyrics for A Day in The Life, one of the top hits from The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band LP, have sold at Sotheby's.

Auctioned in New York, the lyrics - featuring the singer's cross-outs and corrections - realised a final price of $1,202,500.

John Lennon lyrics for A Day in the Life

According to reports, the lyrics sold to a private American collector. Lennon's lyrics for All You Need is Love likewise sold for $1.2m, back in 2005.

The Imagine Steinway piano

John Lennon's greatest hit as a single artist was Imagine, which is regularly listed in polls as one of the five greatest songs of all time.

In the video for the song, Lennon plays a suitably dreamy grand piano. But this was not the instrument on which the song was composed.

That honour fell to a cigarette-burned upright which Lennon bought almost exactly a decade before his death, in December 1970.

Lennon both composed and recorded Imagine on it, and was filmed playing the song on it for the first time to wife Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono band.

Its significance is not lost on Lennon's fellow music artists.

Pop singer George Michael placed the winning bid for the piano in 2000. His winning bid of $2.1m triumphed over fellow bidders Robbie Williams and Liam & Noel Gallagher.

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