The Beatles Story and Julien’s Auctions held a memorabilia free valuation day at the Beatles Story museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, last Thursday which turned up this interesting letter from John.
The letter is John’s famous note to Her Majesty the Queen, from when he decided to return his MBE to the palace. The letter reads:
I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the chart.
With love John Lennon
John Lennon of Bag.
The owner of the piece, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said the letter was discovered tucked away inside the sleeve of a record that was part of a collection of 45s, which was picked up for £10 at a car boot sale 20 years ago.
Julien’s Auctions valued the letter at £60,000. Until then, the owner of the letter had presumed it must have been a copy and was stunned to discover that it could be worth such a huge sum of money.
Darren Julien, Director at Julien’s Auctions, has theorised that the letter may be an early draft, due to the smudged ink.
“If you’re writing to the Queen, you want the letter to look pretty perfect, you don’t want the ink to be smudged. This suggests that he wrote a second version of the letter, which was the one that was actually sent to the Queen. We’ll be doing some further research but this could be the Beatles find of the year. There is no doubt that the handwriting is definitely that of John Lennon.” [Darren Julien, quoted in The Telegraph, 27th Oct 2016]
Photos above of the letter and of the Beatles press conference after they’d been to collect the MBE on 26th October 1965! (Look at the dates! Spooky!) The press conference was held in the downstairs bar of the Savile Theatre.
Q: What did the Queen say to you?
John Lennon: She said to me, ‘Have you been working hard recently?’ And I couldn’t think what we’ve been doing, so I said, 'No, we’ve been having a holiday,’ when actually we’ve been recording.
Paul McCartney: Then she said to me, 'Have you been together long?’ and I said, 'Yes, many years,’ and Ringo said, 'Forty years,’ and she laughed.
George Harrison: She said, 'It’s a pleasure giving it to you,’ but that’s what she said to everybody, and she put John’s on first.
John Lennon: I must have looked shattered.
Ringo Starr: She said, 'Did you start it all?’ and I said, 'No, they did,’ pointing to the other guys. 'I joined last. I’m the little fellow.’
[Beatles press conference, The Beatles Bible]
Pics: John’s letter - PA, MBE pics - Rolls Press/Popperfoto
26 October 1965 The Beatles are awarded their MBE by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London
“The Queen was great. Obviously I’m a big Queen fan now. It was obvious
she was doing her best to make everyone feel relaxed and not nervous.
When she gave me my medal, she said, ‘It’s a pleasure to present you
with this,’ and I said, 'Thank you.’ “ - Ringo