John Lennon Drawings and Manuscripts Going Up for Auction

'You Might Well Arsk' is the largest collection of the Beatle's doodles, poems and short stories

John Lennon, Beatles
Harry Benson/Hulton Archive
John Lennon
By |

A huge trove of John Lennon's writings and drawings is coming up for auction in New York City this summer, offering a renewed look at the former Beatle's lesser known comic literary side. According to Sotheby's, the 89-lot collection titled "You Might Well Arsk" constitutes the most extensive sale ever of Lennon's original artwork, autograph manuscripts and corrected typescripts.

The items come from the private collection of Tom Maschler, the publisher partially responsible for creating Britain's prestigious Booker Prize. Maschler worked with Lennon on two books in the 1960s, In His Own Write and A Spaniard In the Works, and the manuscripts came out of those projects.

20 Underappreciated John Lennon Solo Songs 

"My relationship with John Lennon was different to those I had with all the other authors I worked with over my years as a publisher," Maschler said in a statement to the New York Times. "Having seen a superb sketch of his that a mutual acquaintance showed me, I met with John to suggest that he should produce John Lennon 'In His Own Write.' I then had to inspire in him the confidence to write and produce the drawings." 

The collection includes a number of satirical drawings, doodles and gibberish poems, as well as the manuscript for a Sherlock Holmes parody Lennon wrote in 1965 called "The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield," which is expected to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000. A 1964 drawing titled 'Neville Club' includes the caption, "Puffing and globbering they drugged theyselves rampling or dancing with wild abdomen, stubbing in wild postumes amongst themselves..." Its estimated value is between $18,000 and $22,000.

A John Lennon literary souvenir of a different sort went up for sale last week when auctioneers Cooper Owen offered a letter Lennon scrawled to Phil Spector blaming Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson for urinating on a recording console. 

The "You Might Well Arsk" collection goes on sale through Sotheby's in New York on June 4th. Highlights from the sale were recently exhibited in Austin and London and will be on view in New York beginning May 28th. 

x