Beatles Drum Skin, Lennon Lyrics Fetch $1.9 Million

The hand-painted drum skin that appeared on the sleeve of the Beatles' ground-breaking 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" sold for $1.1 million at auction on Thursday in London, four t

The hand-painted drum skin that appeared on the sleeve of the Beatles' ground-breaking 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" sold for $1.1 million at auction on Thursday in London, four times its estimate.

Billed as the "world's most famous drum skin," it was the star lot of Christie's rock and pop memorabilia sale in London, and eclipsed the other highlight, John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for hit song "Give Peace a Chance."

The manuscript still fetched $834,000, well above pre-sale expectations of around $500,000.

It was sold by comedy writer and presenter Gail Renard, who was 16 when Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous "Bed-In" at a hotel in Montreal in 1969.Renard and a friend sneaked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where the recently married Lennon and Ono were holding a protest for peace, and became friendly with the couple. According to Christie's, Lennon gave Renard some mementos, including the lyrics, telling her: "One day they will be worth something."

She described Lennon's warmth and generosity, and how he helped launch her career as a journalist by calling the Beatles Monthly magazine at the time and instructing them to pay for a piece she was writing on the star.

"If John said I'm a writer, I thought I must be," she said. "The lyrics have a price, his friendship doesn't."

During the "Bed-In" for peace in Montreal, which followed a similar stunt in Amsterdam, Lennon and Ono opened their doors to the world's media. The highlight of the event came when Lennon led the recording of one of the world's most recognizable anthems "Give Peace a Chance."

When Lennon saw television footage of nearly half a million anti-Vietnam war protesters singing the song outside the White House in November 1969, he considered it to be "one of the biggest moments of my life," Christie's said.


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