John Lennon's 'Imagine' Austin Princess to auction in London
An Austin Princess limousine owned by John Lennon will be amongst the star lots of the RM Sotheby's London sale in September.
Austin Princess limousines were favoured by The Beatles throughout their careers, as the large rear doors made it easy to jump in whilst surrounded by mobs of screaming fans.
This particular example, built in 1956, was acquired by John Lennon in 1971 following the break-up of the band, and features extensively in the 1972 TV documentary Imagine, as he and Yoko Ono are seen travelling about in their daily life.
The car was then sold to a Californian collector and has remained on American soil ever since. In 2008 it was donated to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum in Texas, and will now cross the block in London with an estimate of £190,000 - £265,000 ($250,000 - $347,150).
A variety of charitable causes set to benefit from the proceeds, including Make A Wish America, the Dell Children’s Medical Center and UNICEF, which was one of Lennon's personal favourite charities.
The car comes complete with the five aeroplane seats which were specially added to the car, along with the original vehicle registration/title document, signed by Lennon when he bought it on August 26, 1971.
"Since donating the Austin Princess to the [Austin Rock and Roll Car] Museum, it’s been seen and enjoyed by thousands," said Milton Verret, who purchased the car in 2005 and donated it to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum.
"Now the Museum wants to offer this rare vehicle at auction with the hope that it will be seen and enjoyed by even more fans of John Lennon and the Beatles worldwide, while at the same time raising funds for deserving charities."
The London auction will also include another automobile with celebrity provenance, this time from the silver screen.
Collectors will have the chance to acquire a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Cabriolet owned by British actor James Mason, star of films such as North by Northwest, Lolita and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Having been used by Mason and his family during holidays to Switzerland and the South of France, the Mercedes will be offered directly from his estate for the first time with an estimate of £150,000 - £200,000 ($196,500 - $262,000).
"We are honoured to have been entrusted with the sale of these two historically important cars," said Peter Wallman, Managing Director of RM Europe.
"Celebrity provenance doesn’t get stronger than this, and the fact that both cars are accompanied by the original, signed title documents is fantastic. They are very different cars, but each will surely find a delighted new owner at our London sale."
The RM Sotheby's London sale takes place at Battersea Evolution on September 7, in conjunction with the Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle on September 2-4.
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