Lennon glasses sold at auction.

How much would you be willing to pay for an iconic piece of music memorabilia?  If I had an unlimited budget I can think of a few dream pieces that I would like to obtain, and I wouldn’t think twice about paying top dollar for.  The one item that I would love to have would be Lennon’s bleached Casion guitar, his black Rickenbacker, and the Bed-In acoustic.  (I play guitar so of course these would be the first three items that come to mind.)  

It looks like we may never know exactly how much the Lennon glasses were sold for, but you can be sure it wasn’t cheap.  Maybe he threw in the real lenses too.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Sunglasses once owned by the late Beatle John Lennon sold today for an undisclosed amount on the U.K. Web site, 991.com. The British Broadcasting Corp. earlier said the glasses had attracted bids as high as $1.5 million.

A U.K. Beatles fan bought the glasses and will lend them to a Liverpool museum next year, said John Warner, 991.com’s marketing director. The site never released a price estimate for the glasses, which Lennon wore during a 1966 Japanese concert tour, he said.

“We’re not really in the auction business, and we didn’t put any value on the glasses,” Warner said in an interview, declining to disclose the price. “This was a one-off for us.” The Web site was set up earlier this year by two longtime memorabilia traders based in Kent, England.

The glasses probably fetched much less than $1.5 million, auctioneers said. A pair of Lennon’s yellow-tinted glasses fetched 55,000 pounds ($111,645) in 2005, said Stuart Hellier, assistant to Louise Cooper of the U.K. auction house Cooper Owen. A handwritten lyric of “All You Need Is Love” sold for a record 600,000 pounds before commission at Cooper Owen in 2005.

Lennon glasses don’t often come up at auction houses. Cooper Owen has sold three sets since 2000, and one with a minimum price of 30,000 pounds failed to sell last year, Hellier said. Christie’s International sold a pair for $8,625 in 1996, a spokeswoman said. Reproductions are common on EBay Inc.

The star, born in Liverpool in 1940, was shot dead outside his New York apartment house in 1980. Lennon chose not to wear glasses during the early years with the Beatles. He said he had difficulty playing the guitar as a result.

Wire Frames

He later favored the round wire frames issued free by the U.K.’s National Health Service. He wore spectacles as Private Gripweed in the 1967 Richard Lester movie, “How I Won the War,” and kept them as the band retreated from live performances.

Lennon accumulated dozens of pairs, with frames in gold, silver and other colors, and with tinted and clear lenses. Near the end of his life, he switched to a more oval shape. The glasses he wore the night he died are shown on the cover of his widow Yoko Ono’s 1981 album “Season of Glass,” bloodstained and placed next to a glass of water.

Ono licensed spectacles to Eagle Eyewear under the name “The John Lennon Collection.” Reproductions have been sold under names such as “The Walrus,” “The Dreamer” and “Imagine.” The Beatles had 17 U.K. No. 1 singles, second only to Elvis Presley, who had 21.

Source: Bloomberg


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