press release

JOHN LENNON GLASSES GO ON SALE


A pair of John Lennon’s trademark ‘granny’ glasses from one of the last Beatles concerts ever goes on sale today on music memorabilia website www.991.com.

The gold-rimmed spectacles, which he gave to his Japanese interpreter in Tokyo in 1966, are expected to raise up to £1 million in worldwide bidding when the auction closes at the end of July.

The last high profile pair of Lennon’s spectacles unveiled to the public reside in a museum in the Beatles hometown of Liverpool where they have been valued at exactly £1 million.

The latest pair are even more unusual because their owner, former interpreter Junishi Yore, pushed out the lenses with his thumb on the day of Lennon’s death in 1980, in accordance with his religious beliefs.

Lennon wore the glasses on the Beatles’ tour of Japan at the end of June 1966. The band were at the height of their fame – and the beginning of a new-found notoriety, following John’s infamous “bigger than Jesus” comment in The Evening Standard weeks earlier.

Controversy followed them to the Far East, with threats on their lives from religious fanatics angry at the decision to let them play at the sacred site of Budokan.

Amid heavy security, the band were forced to remain virtual prisoners in their Tokyo hotel, with only their photographer friend Bob Whitaker and a local translator for company.

At the end of their fifth and final Budokan concert, Lennon and his translator, Junishi Yore, exchanged gifts in the Japanese tradition. The interpreter, who later became a television producer, presented the Beatle with a set of traditional copper cups; Lennon donated a pair of his sunglasses.

In a handwritten note from 1984, when he parted company with the gift, Yore confirms their provenance, and describes how, as a mark of respect, he removed the lenses with his thumb on the day the Beatle was shot dead outside his New York apartment on December 8, 1980.

He writes: “John Lennon sunglass no lense (sic), given to myself producer Nippon TV Network, at time translator for Beatles At Tokyo Hilton. John Lennon wore same glasses at Budokan for shows, had silver glass too.

“He gave me this, I gave copper cups to him. Very nice man. Lenses removed when he die (black) as I/we feel he see us after death in Japan. Regards, Junishi Yore, Producer NTV Tokyo Japan Nippon Television, 1984.”

The last pair of Lennon’s spectacles appeared in 2002, and now are the star attraction at The Beatles Story exhibition in Liverpool with a value of £1 million. Those glasses, worn by Lennon from 1970-73 – the period in which he composed his landmark solo album ‘Imagine’ - are now on public display in the museum at Liverpool’s Albert Dock, where fans can actually look through them.

Saul Watson, Head of Marketing at www.911.com, said the glasses had come into the British site’s ownership from an American collector as part of a larger collection. “They are a massively iconic item from one of the greatest luminaries of pop,” he said. “1966 was a rollercoaster year that saw Lennon creating his own identity, of which the round glasses were very much a part.

“An item like this comes up so infrequently that it’s impossible to predict how high the bidding will go. But we are anticipating huge interest from all over the world, both from institutions and private collectors, especially in the USA and Japan.”

The site, based in Kent, aims to provide collectors with rare items to complete their collections. Watson added: “We have more than 500,000 items in stock and we have buying teams in all corners of the globe, tasked with sourcing the rarest and finest quality collectibles known to man.”

There is no reserve on the spectacles, and bids are being sought until July 31 through the site or directly by email at the address lennon@991.com.

Saul Watson
Head of Marketing
01474 815 007
Saul.Watson@991.com

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