• RSS I read the news today: All Beatle news.

  • RSS Feeds

  • Archives

John Lennon’s motorbike sold at auction.

First off, I’m really surprised that the unseen photos of John and Yoko did not sell.  Apparrently, they did not reach the auction’s reserve.  I’m am not surprised that his motorbike sold at such a high price.  It’s amazing to me how such a little artifact, or little-known artifact, from a moment in this artist’s life would garner such an interest.

(NOTE: This was not the auctioned bike.  I just liked the picture, and it fit the headline.)

It’s not like it was a lyric sheet frozen in time.  It would be different if it were an instrument.  But instead, it’s this lonely motorbike that John used to tool around his mansion.  It’s really quite ludicrous to pay the amount for it when you really think about it.  Maybe Jay Leno added it to his arsenal of cars and motorcycles, and the bike will hang out with other celebrity bikes in some swank garage. 

Here’s what we’ve read.

Honda bike owned by John Lennon and Ringo Starr which Lennon used to whiz around his country estate, fetched more than five times its estimate yesterday.
The 1970 Honda 160Z “monkey bike” was part of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia sale in London’s Knightsbridge and realised £36,000 (€45,430).

The bike was bought by Lennon as a fun way of getting around the acres of his home of Tittenhurst Park and was among items inherited by the subsequent owner, Starr, Bonhams said.

Starr employed the bike’s vendor, a landscape gardener, to undertake various projects on the estate over a number of years.

In 1986, Starr asked him to help move from Tittenhurst to a smaller property nearby.

During the move, the monkey bike was uncovered in one of the garages and, as a gesture of thanks for his help, Starr gave it to him.

The vendor put the 50CC machine, with 3,690 miles on the clock back, into working order and replaced the front headlamp and registration plate.

Also in the sale, a Steinway Grand piano that Elton John played for many rehearsals and celebrity singalongs at his Windsor home sold for £42,000 (€53,000).

The piano, which was expected to fetch £35,000 to £45,000, measures 8ft 11in and is made in a maple wood finish.

It was completed in Hamburg in 1971 and shipped to Steinway & Sons in London where it was purchased by Sir Elton to be housed at his Woodside residence in Windsor.

And George Formby’s original Abbott Monarch banjolele sold for more than three times its estimate for £72,000 (€91k).

Sold to a UK private buyer, the banjolele is believed to have been Formby’s favourite instrument.

His gold plated Dallas E banjolele which was used by the entertainer during his live performances fetched £21,600 (€27k).

The instrument was once owned by another Beatle – George Harrison.

At a concert in Digswell, Welwyn Garden City, Harrison met Jeffrey Formby, George Formby’s nephew.

Harrison offered to return the instrument to the family as a gift who preferred to purchase it. A copy of a letter from George Harrison to Jeffrey, dated 1991, is included with the lot.

Meanwhile, an original puppet head from Thunderbirds Are GO! modelled after Sean Connery, fetched £10,800 (€13,600).

A number of unseen photos of Lennon and Yoko Ono was also in the sale but failed to meet the reserve.

Source: Irish Examiner

12 Responses

  1. George gave Formby’s banjolele back to the family! Awww. I never cease to be amazed by George’s sweetness. And about John’s bike. My god! Imagine having that! John Lennon’s BUTT was on that seat! John was so cool.

  2. Thanks for that! I thought I was the only one thinking about his ass.

  3. Why did he sell the bike? he didn’t like it

  4. Does free really mean free???I recently found this free online auction site AuctionNitro.com. There are ABSOLUTEY 100% no fees to
    list items, sell items or buy items! You can even feature, bold etc., at no cost as well and there is no
    gotcha fine print. However, I found myself sending several emails asking over and over it is all free?
    Whats the catch?FREE MEANS WHAT IT SAYS – FREE!!!It seems that the word free today carries so little real substance that it has to always have a catch to it.
    -Does Free mean almost free?
    -Does Free mean only if you subscribe and pay later?
    -Does Free mean just for some people?When a product and/or service is advertising free, in my old fashioned mentality, it always means free!
    Try it, Use it, Love it or leave it but dont abuse it! Today it seems that talk has become so cheap that
    what our country once stood for Free is now just a passing phrase for marketers.

  5. Friends, can you assist? A good friend of mine is considering buying themselves a new Honda CBR 1000 as their first bike! Never rode anything else before! I did say this is probably not a good idea for the first one, but they are adamant! What do you think, is this ok and would you then just recommend good lessons?

  6. George gave Formby’s banjolele back to the family! Awww. I never cease to be amazed by George’s sweetness. And about John’s bike. My god! Imagine having that! John Lennon’s BUTT was on that seat! John was so cool.

  7. The Honda Mini Trail, otherwise know as a Monkey Bike with the registration number XUC 91 H, is owned by me, and has been for the past 40 or so years.

    The bike I have is fully documented, taxed MOT’d and insured.

    Previous owner John Lennon sold the machine to a motor cycle dealer in Farnborough in Hampshire, from where I bought it.

    XUC 91 H, is in fact a model CZ 50, and was first registered by Lennon in 1969.

    The machine is open to inspection, and all the supporting documentation is with it.

    Regards John H.


      The 1969 Honda Mini Trail XUC 91 H previously owned by John Lennon is in fact a Honda model Z50 A

      • John,

        I have a 1969 Lambretta Cometa with an original registration number XUC509H (pretty close to your monkey bike). I have no documentary evidence but i’m trying to track down it’s history. Maybe the two bikes came from the same dealer? If you can help in any way i would be very grateful. My email is jim.brierley@live.co.uk




  9. […] which was given to Starr’s gardener as a thank-you gift in 1986 — sold for £36,000 in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: