John Lennon’s draft letter to Queen Elizabeth II explaining why he returned his MBE is to go on display at The Beatles Story in Liverpool today.
The Memorabilia Day (26 October) coincided with the date that The Beatles first received their MBEs from the Queen in 1965 and today (25 November) marks the anniversary of the day that John Lennon returned his in an act of protest in 1969.
The owner of the letter, who wishes to remain anonymous, first discovered the item tucked inside a record sleeve, which was part of a collection picked up for £10 at a car boot sale 20 years ago.
Memorabilia expert Darren Julien, CEO of Julien’s Auctions – the LA-based ‘auction house to the stars’, believes that the letter could be “the Beatles find of the year” and has “no doubt that the handwriting is definitely that of John Lennon.”
Until meeting with Darren, the owner had assumed the letter was a copy and was both stunned and delighted to discover that it could be worth such a huge sum of money.
Darren says: “John Lennon never actually sent this version to the Queen when he famously returned his MBE. You can quite clearly see that the signature in this letter has been smudged. My theory is that John Lennon never sent this draft because of the smeared 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 her.”
Since the Memorabilia Day further investigation has taken place. Darren explains: “The handwriting has been confirmed by three independent experts and I personally verified that the writing was original and not a colour copy”.
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