Beatle John Lennon’s earliest known letter set to auction for £30,000
BY JOSHUA TAYLOR
7 MAR 2016
Card sent from the 11-year-old Lennon to his aunt in Christmas 1951 will be sold later this month
John Lennon letter, a message of thanks, which was sent to his aunt in 1951 when John was just 11 years old, which is expected to sell for over £30,000, when online bidding starts on March 24
The earliest known letter written by John Lennon is expected to fetch more than £30,000 at auction next month.
The 11-year-old Lennon put pen to a fold-out note card shortly after Christmas 1951 to thank his Aunt Harriet for the presents she gave him, including a book about famous ships.
Lennon regularly wrote to his family and friends throughout his Beatles career but the thank you message - with a few grammatical errors - to his mother Julia’s younger sister is understood to be his first letter.
He wrote: “Dear Harrie Thankyou for the book that you sent to me for Christmas and for the towel with my name on it, And I think it is the best towel I’ve ever seen.
“The book that you sent to me is a very interesting one. I am at the bottom of page 18 at the moment. The story is famous Ships its all about a man called Captain kidd the pirate.
“I am on the second chapter, the first chapter is called the Victory and the second is called the Mary Celeste.
“Thankyou for the red jumper that you sent to me.
“I hope you have a happy new year. Love from John x”
The letter, which was formerly the property of his cousin David Birch - Harriet’s son - is to be sold by TracksAuction.com
Online bidding begins at 4pm on March 24 at www.TracksAuctions.com , concluding with a live online auction on the website starting at 3pm on April 3.
The auction contains around 300 lots of Beatles and music memorabilia including the address book from Liverpool’s Cavern Club where the group played many gigs, and a collection of records that were previously owned by Lennon.
Lot 307 of 307:
John Lennon’s Earliest Known Handwritten Letter 1951 (V)
Estimate: £30,000 - £40,000
Starting bid: £30,000
The earliest known letter in the hand of John Lennon which was sent to his aunt Harriet shortly after Christmas 1951. In the letter John thanks his aunt for the recent Christmas presents that she had given to him. It is neatly written on a greeting card and signed first name only. The front of the card pictures a pheasant in a woodland scene. John has hand drawn lines to help him keep his writing level. All in blue ballpoint pen. The card reads:-
Thankyou for the book that you sent to me for Christmas and for the towel with my name on it, And I think it is the best towel I have ever seen.
The book that you sent to me is a very interesting one. I am at the bottom of page 18 at the moment. The story is famous Ships its all about a man called Captain kidd the pirate.
I am on the second chapter, the first chapter is called the Victory and the second chapter is called the Mary Celeste.
Thankyou for the red jumper that you sent to me.
I hope you have a happy new year. Love from
John Lennon’s aunt Harriet lived in Woolton, not too far away from where John was living with his aunt Mimi. Harriet had married an Egyptian engineering student named Ali Hafez. The couple then moved to Cairo where they had a daughter named Leila in 1937. Her husband Ali unfortunately passed away after a routine tooth extraction. Newly widowed Harrie found herself and Leila caught up in the war but despite visa problems they managed to return to Liverpool on board a returning troop ship. In 1942 she re-married Norman Birch, an army officer who was serving in the Royal Army Services Corps. He then went on to work in the motor trade. They had one son named David in 1948. They were also appointed guardians of John’s half sisters Julia and Jackie after the death of their mother in 1958.
The letter is from the collection of John’s cousin David Birch and it comes with a letter from David that reads, ‘To whom it may concern, this is to confirm that the enclosed ‘Dear Harrie’ thank you letter was written by my cousin John Lennon to my mother Harriet Birch. I estimate the date to be Christmas 1950.’.
The letter measures 27.5cm x 19cm (10.75 inches x 7.5 inches) when open. The condition of the letter is excellent.