As most people know, John Lennon was gunned down in New York City on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman, a loner from Hawaii with a Holden Caulfield complex and an intense drive to make a mark. What many don’t know is that earlier that day Lennon had signed a handful of autographs for fans, including the album cover of his latest release Double Fantasy.
Letter of Note is a cool little blog dedicated to highlighting “correspondence deserving of a wider audience,” where they publish personal letters of note. Today they have a letter from one of the autographer seekers from that day to a collector wondering about the value of an item signed by John Lennon on the day of his murder. To say anything more would give away the surprise but check it out.
A clue on who the letter writer is after the jump…
John Lennon signs a copy of Double Fantasy for Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. Hours later, Chapman would kill Lennon in front of the Dakota building in New York City.
The Daily Mail reported on this letter in August, 2008 and provides a few more details around what happened to the signed album:
In the letter, Chapman tells how he then placed the signed record beside the security guard booth outside the Dakota Building.
It would later be found by Philip Michael, from Hamburg, New Jersey who gave the album to police. It was returned to him after Chapman pleaded guilty to murder.
Mr Michael waited 19 years before offering it for sale while Chapman desperately mounted a legal battle to get it returned to him.
The record was bought in 1999 by an anonymous American and in 2004 it went up for sale again priced at £274,000 through a US memorabilia website, touted as ‘the most important piece of historic rock memorabilia ever’.
The album is now being offered for sale by this site, with the accompanying blurb:
The album bears the signature of John Lennon and is dated 1980. The cover and dust jacket contain forensically enhanced fingerprints of Chapman. This piece of crucial evidence against Chapman was turned into police and then returned to the owner with a letter of extreme gratitude from the District Attorney.
8 thoughts on “John Lennon Signed My Album Day He Was Killed: What’s It Worth?”
This is skin-crawl worthy on so many levels. Notably, among many low-lights:
— which auction house would even want to handle this?
— who would be ghoulish enough to want to buy it, even if it were for charity?
Why is that worthless little fuck still alive?
“I’m somewhat of a recluse”
Yeah, way to spin a life sentence in Attica into a Salingerian lifestyle choice.
Creepy, icky, bad.
I’ll find a source, but I know that at one time the album was in the possession of one of the responding officers who kept it under his bed for years.
See update in the post for more details on what happened to the signed album.
Who am I to say what others collect and find valuable. There is a history that comes with the item, but I don’t find it as unsettling as Yoko using John’s bloody glasses for Season Of Glass. I do have a strong opinion of the murderer asking for items back that directly implicated them in trial. Why not ask for the gun back too, dick? I hope this “keep it like a secret” letter assisted with denying MDC parole.
Your entitled to your admirable lack of judgmentalism as to a person’s wishes to collect such an item with a darkly chequered past. All I know is that if I were Isaac Tigrett or Jann Wenner looking to beef up my collection of primary artifacts, I’d give this one a wide berth merely because of the horrible karma it could invite, not to mention it would freak the shit out of my patrons (in a wholly negative way).
I have a john lennon signature, given to me in 1977, after i delivered a painting done by me thht he liked. this happened at a boston ma hotel. i want to sell this. [email protected] 617 524 5494