Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The price of John Lennon’s ghost

How much would you pay for basking in the aura of John Lennon’s former presence?

On February 5, the British auction firm Bonhams will auction John Lennon’s first car, a blue 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Coupe, which he bought in February of that year —right after passing his driving test— for ₤2,000.

The pre-sale estimate is $155,000 to $220,000. That is more than double the amount paid for a restored Series II version of the 330 GT 2+2 at the Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction in 2007, according to Antique Trader, and more than three times as much as a Series I version sold at the 2009 Sports & Classics Auction.

Those cars weren’t owned by a former Beatle. But is the sense of Lennon’s former presence worth $80,000 or more? There’s not much left of Lennon on the car. Apparently he sold it in November of 1965. Since then, the car had been repainted red. And it had to undergo comprehensive restoration.

Maybe it’s the recession, but recent attempts to auction off things touched by Lennon haven’t paid off. The white suit worn by Lennon on the cover of Abbey Road sold last month this year for only $46,000 —only a fraction of what it fetched in 2005.

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