Beatles Autographs

JL2.  A Scarce Signed “A Spaniard In The Works” Book Autographed By The Author, John Lennon

While John Lennon signed many copies of his first book “In His Own Write”, including dozens in a single day at the Foyle’s Literary Luncheon (held in April of 1964) honoring the author and the success of his new book – relatively few copies of his second book “A Spaniard In The Works” have surfaced to date. There were no public signing sessions for this book, and it is many, many times rarer than its predecessor.

Here is a scarce Jonathan Cape published U.K. First Edition copy of this book which has been autographed beautifully on the frontispiece by John Lennon in black fountain pen. While there are no details as to exactly when it was signed, the signature dates from very shortly after the June 1965 release date. The book is in excellent overall condition, in square tight condition with sharp corners with a small bit of light foxing found on a few of the pages. This book would be a great addition to a collection that already contains an autographed “In His Own Write” book……$6,000


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JL1. A Beatles Tour Program Signed By John Lennon

On March 9, 1963 — just 5 days after the conclusion of their supporting gig on the Helen Shapiro tour — the Beatles embarked on their second major tour of Great Britain as the primary opening act for two chart-topping American singers -- Chris Montez and Tommy Roe. Twenty-year-old Montez had reached #1 in America the previous year with “Let’s Dance” (which also reached #2 in the UK). Roe, also 20, had scored a #1 hit in America in September 1962 with “Sheila”. The tour, which ran through March 31st, encompassed 21 shows in 23 days and included stops in such towns as Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and their native Liverpool. Soon after the tour began, “Britain’s Dynamic Beatles” assumed top billing due to audience demand as well as the #1 status of their “Please Please Me” single which had been at the top of the UK charts for 3 weeks. Their first LP, “Please Please Me” would be released in the UK during the tour, on March 22, 1963 ... and their climb from obscurity to legend would begin in earnest.

Offered here is a program from the Montez-Roe tour. For the first time ever, The Beatles made the cover of a tour program, though because they were still a supporting act, their photos appear on the back cover while Montez and Roe dominate the front cover. The back cover of this program featuring The Beatles has been beautifully signed by John Lennon in blue ballpoint pen just above his image. He has added “XX” following his signature and has gone on to sign for the other three members of the band, also adding “X’s” after each respective autograph.

From time to time during a tour, autograph requests would arrive when all four Beatles were not present. Consequently, one Beatle would sign for one or more of his missing band mates and, as examples show, to the best of their ability, they actually tried to duplicate the signing characteristics and nuances of the others. None of them became particularly proficient at this and today it’s quite easy to spot instances when one Beatle has signed for the others. More often than not, it was Paul McCartney who followed this practice as there are more such sets done by him than the others. ‘Full sets’ done by John Lennon are quite rare. Few have surfaced over the years and almost all of those were done on autograph album pages. The fact that this particular set was signed on a tour program makes it far more rare and desirable. The program measures 8” x 10 ½”, and is in excellent condition overall, with minor wear.....$7,500

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JL3. John Lennon Handwritten Letter from 1971

John Lennon’s political activism first manifested itself in 1966 when he defied Brian Epstein and publicly denounced the war in Vietnam. Later that year, in his first solo effort away from The Beatles, he joined the cast of the anti-war film, “How I Won The War”. He expressed himself more vocally two years later with the 1968 song “Revolution” and began to embrace radicalism as his panacea for world change and personal and political liberation. With his wife Yoko Ono, he staged his now-famous bed-ins for peace, using the media as a form of free advertising to further convey a radical message. By the early 1970s, he used his music to rail against war, racism and sexism and allied himself with such radical lightning rods as Yippie founder Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale, chairman of the Black Panther Party. This period proved to be one of the most interesting and, in the opinions of many Lennon fans, most embarrassing phases of his career as he further attempted to use rock music to call attention to political and social oppression around the world. His withdrawal from political activism in 1972 was precipitated by the Nixon administration’s deportation proceedings.

On a few occasions, Lennon gravitated to individuals whom he felt were wronged by the political system, staging benefits and other media events on their behalf. In January 1970, he and Yoko shaved their heads so that their hair could be auctioned off to raise funds in support of a London-based black power advocate named Michael X, a controversial figure who envisioned himself as a British Malcolm X. The following year, at the urging of Jerry Rubin, the Lennons performed at a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan in support of John Sinclair, a counterculture figure and organizer of the White Panther Party, who had been serving a 10-year prison term for selling two marijuana joints to an undercover officer. This obviously struck a personal chord with Lennon because of his own conviction for marijuana possession in 1968 and the ensuing case that dogged his efforts to stay in America in the early-to-mid 1970s.

The letter being offered here was handwritten by Lennon in defense of yet another radical, Massoud Rajavi, and others in his movement. In 1967, 19-year-old Rajavi (b. 1948) became the youngest member of the central committee of the Organization of People’s Mujahideen of Iran (WIPO), an organization opposed to the dictatorial regime of the Shah of Iran. In 1971, the year this letter was written, the leaders of this movement were arrested and sentenced to death. Some were executed, but Rajavi’s sentence was commuted to life in prison, the result of the efforts of an international campaign run by his brother, a professor of political science. Ultimately, he was released from prison – a mere three weeks before the Iranian revolution of February 1979.

This letter, written out on in Lennon’s hand presumably addressed to the Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, states:

“Your majesty, on behalf of ourselves and our friends, we humbly ask you to show clemency to the new world-famous 37 political prisoners, especially the 22-year-old student Massoud Radjavi (sic), peace & love, John and Yoko Lennon.” The signature is followed with an additional line (though incomplete): “Can you do anything with”.

This draft letter was written on the reverse side of an Apple sales report which measures 8-1/2” x 13”. This printed sheet dates from 1971 and features sales figures for the latest Apple LP and single releases by John, Yoko and Paul McCartney. The date of “October 26, 1971” appears on the report and it is safe to assume that Lennon’s note was written not long afterward. There is some modest wear and creasing on the sheet.

John Lennon handwritten material from this period of his life is very scarce and the content of this note, which ties it directly to his infamous political activities, makes it a very rare and desirable piece…..$12,500

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SI4. A Letter Written By John Lennon To A Fan In Early 1963

This letter was fully handwritten by John Lennon in black fountain pen on a sheet of stationary paper which measures 8” x 10”. He starts off by writing his return address in the upper right hand corner: “251 MENLOVE AVE WOOLTON LIVERPOOL 25 LANCS” (Lancashire). This, of course, is "Mendips", the childhood home where he lived with his Aunt Mimi from 1945 until 1963, when The Beatles' growing fame necessitated a move to London.

The letter reads:

“Dear Dawn,
Thanks for your letter, glad
you liked the show.
For fan-club information,
I can’t tell you about opening a
Stoke-on-Trent branch but I suggest
you get in touch with the Northern
Branch here in Liverpool and they can
let you know all about it. The address is
NEMS 12-14 Whitechapel
Liverpool 1.
Thanks again – hope to be
in Hanley again soon.
Cherrio (sp)

Hanley was one of six towns that comprised Stoke-on-Trent and The Beatles played there only twice in their career -- on March 3, 1963 (the final night of the Helen Shapiro tour, during which The Beatles were an opening act for a 16 year old girl) and again on May 19, 1963 (the second night of their tour with Roy Orbison).

This letter, in response to one the fan had written to John following the March show in Hanley, as the signature dates from early March of 1963. (By May, just two months later, characteristics within John’s signature had changed noticeably). On March 5th, just two days after that first Hanley gig, the band recorded their third single "From Me To You/Thank You Girl" and on March 22nd, their first LP "Please Please Me" was released. By the time they returned to Hanley with Orbison in May, The Beatles were so enormously popular that they would soon grab the spotlight from the American headliner, taking top billing on the tour. They had already come a long way in just two months.

This letter represents one of the very few times that Lennon personally answered fan mail with a handwritten letter and it is certainly one of the last times he ever wrote to anyone from "Mendips" before his move to London. Once he took up residence in the city, the demands on his time grew exponentially and he rarely had the time for long personal replies like this one.

The charm of this letter lies not only in the fact that it was written from his childhood home, but that he takes the time to personally direct a fan to the proper source for Beatles fan club information. Naturally he provides her with the address for Brian Epstein's NEMS store on Whitechapel Street in Liverpool, which at the time was the "Eppy-center" of the Beatle universe! Shortly thereafter, The Official Beatles Fan Club would be located on Monmouth Street in London.

The letter is in very good condition, with non detracting mailing fold marks, tape residue at top left and a small tear to the right of this residue.

Letters handwritten by John Lennon are extremely desirable and few are offered for sale in any given year. This is a truly rare opportunity to own a letter written by John just prior to The Beatles' quick astronomical rise to an unprecedented level of fame, which began right after this letter was written, following the release of their first LP record “Please Please Me”.....$19,500

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