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Beatle lyrics expected to fetch $2 mn at auction

These handwritten Beatles lyrics are considered one of the most valuable musical manuscripts of the 20th century.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 17:10 IST

A stained sheet of handwritten Beatles lyrics went on display on Tuesday before a sealed-bid auction where it was expected to sell for at least $2 million.

The draft of the words to A Day in the Life, from the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, were written by John Lennon and are considered one of the most valuable musical manuscripts of the 20th century to be offered for sale. Beatles road manager Mal Evans sold the piece of memorabilia for US$100,000 at Sotheby's in London in 1992 to an unidentified American collector, who has now put the item up for sale.

The sheet, which has lyrics over both sides and is thought to be stained by either coffee or egg, are on private view at Bonhams auction house, in London, until February 3.

"It is undoubtedly the most significant Lennon manuscript to be offered at auction, and arguably, the most significant musical manuscript of the 20th century," said Martin Gammon, a music specialist at Bonhams.

Lennon initially penned the song over breakfast, drawing inspiration from news items in an edition of the Daily Mail newspaper, including a report on the death of Tara Browne, heir to the Guinness fortune and a friend of the Beatles. The singer later refined the lyrics with colleague Paul McCartney before the song was recorded.

Gammon refused to disclose the number of bids already received for the lot, but said he expected the manuscript to sell for between $2 million and $3 million.

The sealed-bid auction closes on March 7,the anniversary of the first radio performance by the Beatles in 1962.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 17:10 IST