Beatles superfans might jump at the chance to buy John Lennon’s coat or the handwritten song notes for Hey Jude, even at a price of $70,000 (£51,000).
However, an upcoming Beatles auction does come with an important catch. None of the items themselves are actually for sale.
Julian Lennon, John’s son, has announced the first NFT auction from his own personal collection, including his father’s coat from the Magical Mystery Tour film, the famous black cape from Help!, and three guitars.
But instead of buying the physical object, bidders will pay thousands for a digital image and an accompanying audio clip of Julian Lennon sharing a “personal memory”. Lennon, 58, will continue to own the real items, most of which are locked in his private vault.
In a statement, Lennon described the sale of Beatles memorabilia that does not exist in the real world as a “unique way to continue dad’s legacy”.
Live bidding on each NFT, or non-fungible token, will take place on Feb 7 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Auctioneers expect an NFT of Paul McCartney’s handwritten song notes to “Hey Jude” to fetch the biggest price with an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 (£37,00 to £51,000). The song is said to have been written by McCartney to comfort Julian following the divorce of his parents.
The handwritten notes for the classic Hey Jude
Each piece of clothing is expected to sell for $8,000 to $20,000 (£5,900 to £14,000), while the three guitar NFTs are estimated at $6,000 to $8,000 (£4,000 to £5,900).
“As an artist, I have great respect for all that my father accomplished in his career,” Julian Lennon said. “As a son, I hold dear the good memories I have of my time with him.
“I feel incredibly lucky to live in a day and age where innovation allows me to share such personal pieces of my Lennon family history. Through this NFT collection, I’m able to grant exclusive access to special items that I cherish and carry on the legacy of my father in a new way.
“I actually felt very bad about keeping all that stuff locked away, and I just felt that this was a unique way to continue dad’s legacy and to show people the collections I have, and with the videos and narration, to give people a little more than they would normally get and hear some stories that they haven’t heard before in a new art form and a different medium.”
One of the guitars that is part of the NFT sale
The Beatles auction – titled “Lennon Connection: The NFT Collection” – is the latest development in the fast-growing world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
What are NFTs?
Each NFT is a certificate of ownership for a unique digital asset that does not physically exist.
Sales of NFTs have soared in recent months and weeks. In March, a digital collage of images sold for $69.3 million (£51.4 million) at a Christie’s auction.
Lennon auction items
A spokesman said that “a portion” of the proceeds of each sale will benefit Lennon’s White Feather Foundation, which combats climate change.
“Julian has these incredible items in the physical world and these are 1 of 1 offerings in the digital world,” said YellowHeart founder Josh Katz. “We’re going to see a lot more of these physical/digital pairings in the years to come – it’s already happening with sneakers, and here you have a 1 of 1 digital representation of this priceless item. It’s a pretty special thing that Julian is doing.”
“Lennon Connection: The NFT Collection” is presented by NFT marketplace YellowHeart and Julien’s Auctions.