John Lennon's signed LP for killer Mark Chapman could sell for $850,000
This copy of Double Fantasy was autographed just hours before the ex-Beatle died in New York
In one of the last-ever photographs taken of John Lennon (1940-1980), the ex-Beatle can be seen outside his home at the Dakota Building in New York, personally signing a copy of his last album Double Fantasy for a fan.
Several hours later, Lennon would be dead after being shot four times in the back. Lennon's murderer was the same fan with whom his picture had been taken: Mark Chapman, a former Christian counselor with a history of mental illness.
While Chapman languishes in a New York jail, John Lennon's legacy continues to reinvigorate itself - most recently with this year's reissuing of his solo albums to coincide with what would have been his 70th anniversary, as well as the 30th anniversary of this death.
As Lennon's legacy grows, so too does the value of his memorabilia. According to the industry's PFC40 Autographs Index, Lennon's autograph has risen in value by 756.1% over the past 10 years - a significant leap from £695 to £5,950.
Anniversaries tend to boost the values of collectibles, so it's no surprise that a number of Lennon items have appeared on the markets this year. Big sales include an auction at Bonhams, whose lots include signed Lennon lyrics and two of his Ivor Novello awards for songwriting.
Meanwhile, collectors remain fascinated by the 'firsts' and 'lasts' of John Lennon's life, whether it's his earliest-known autograph or his last-ever signature.
And among these lasts is an item that's as coveted as it is controversial: the signed copy of Double Fantasy that Lennon signed by Mark Chapman outside the Dakota Building on December 8, 1980.
Almost exactly 30 years after Lennon signed it, collectors will have a chance to own this signed Double Fantasy LP when it is auctioned in New York on December 7, the eve of the anniversary of Lennon's death.
Billed by the auction house as "the most extraordinary artefact in rock and roll history," the signed LP is estimated at $850,000. It was reportedly discovered by a maintenance man at the scene of Lennon's death.
This isn't the first time the LP has been on the market. It was previously sold to a private buyer in 1999 for approximately $460,000.
Not only does the LP bear Lennon's signature, its cover and dust jacket also contain forensically enhanced fingerprints of Chapman. In fact, it offered crucial evidence against Chapman was turned in to police and then returned to the owner with a letter of gratitude from the District Attorney.
If the Double Fantasy LP meets expectations and sells for $850,000, it will have almost doubled in value over the last decade. The fact that the average value of a Lennon autograph appreciated by 756.1% in that time will make this sale even more fascinating when it takes place, next month.
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Images: Moments in Time