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John Lennon's last ever autograph on sale and priced at nearly £100,000

An online company offers collectors a Lennon signed track sheet from December 8, 1980

For nearly a decade now, John Lennon autographs and memorabilia have seen impressive sales prices, as collectors look to soak up any and all collectibles relating to one of Britain's greatest ever musicians.

According to the PFC40 autograph index, which tracks the value of the 40 most sought after celebrity signatures the value of a John Lennon autograph has risen from £695 ($1,070) in 2000 to £5,950 ($9,180) in 2010. That's a rise of 756.1% in just a decade.

And unique autographed collectibles from one quarter of the Fab Four have seen astonishing prices at auction.

Back in June 2010, a handwritten copy of John Lennon's lyrics to The Beatles song A Day in The Life sold for £778,000 ($1.2m) at Sotheby's in New York.

Our recent countdown of the top ten most valuable vinyl records found a signed copy of John Lennon's 1980 Double Fantasy LP which was valued at £340,300 ($525,000). The record was valued as such due to the fact that it was signed just 5 hours before his death on December 8, 1980.

And today, it's been reported that an online autograph seller is offering an even more unique signature from Lennon.

According to the site, the autograph was made in the Record Plant studios on the evening of Lennon's death, with the document reading

"For Karl, who strung me along...Thanx..John Lennon 1980"

According to letters included with the piece, Thom Panunzio, a sound producer working at the studio that day got the signature.

He was in the studio over dubbing the album "Golden Down" by artist Willie Nile.

During a break in recording, Panunzio noticed John Lennon outside of the recording room and decided to get his autograph, for a friend of his.

Approaching Lennon, he requested a signature to be made out to his friend "Karl".

According to Panunzio, the reference to being "strung along" which featured in the autograph had a somewhat simple explanation:

"I realized that John mistakenly thought the strings were from my friend Karl"

Regardless of this error, Panunzio left Lennon, feeling happy that he had met one of his idols and gained his signature.

Later that day, Panunzio recalled coming into the reception area of the building to find everyone glued to the television. According to the reports on screen, Lennon had been shot.

"My first reaction was to laugh and say 'where do they get this from? It can't be true, I was just talking to him."

But true it was and at 11.15pm that evening Lennon was pronounced dead.

It would appear that for decades this signature, on a brown track sheet from the Record Plant, has remained in private hands.

Its sale marks the signature's first appearance on the market and it's of little surprise to find the piece valued at £99,825 ($154,000).

Given the historical significance of the autograph, it is unlikely to stay on the market for long, with Lennon memorabilia proving popular with a wide range of collectors and investors alike.

Back in 2000, George Michael paid £1.4m ($2.1m) for Lennon's famous white Steinway piano.

Whilst at the lower end of the scale, autographed customs documents from John Lennon's last trip abroad to Bermuda are currently available for £9,500 ($14,655), whilst rare hand drawings from the Beatles legend can be bought for £13,500 ($22,275).

The valuation of this unique final signature from Lennon serves as a strong indication of the overall value of his autograph.

And these values could soon be set to rise even higher, with December 8, 2010 set to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

When it comes to autograph collectors, it's nice to know that John Lennon still tops the charts, as the best investment on the market.


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Image: Moments in Time

Last updated: 15 September 2010