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'John Lennon letter' to Queen explaining return of MBE valued at £60,000

Published 27/10/2016

The Beatles at Buckingham Palace after collecting their MBEs
The Beatles at Buckingham Palace after collecting their MBEs

A letter written by John Lennon to the Queen explaining why he returned his MBE has been valued at £60,000, say auctioneers.

The note remains in royal archives but a version of the letter was brought along by a member of public to a memorabilia event in Liverpool on Wednesday.

The person, who wishes to remain anonymous, assumed it was a copy and said they found it tucked away inside the sleeve of a record contained in a collection of 45rpm singles they bought for £10 at a car boot sale 20 years ago.

Recently unearthed in the owner's attic, the letter has been described by as an "incredible find" by Darren Julien of Los Angeles-based Julien's Auctions who believes it may be the original letter.

Mr Julien has a theory that Lennon's letter was a draft version that he never sent to the Queen because the ink in the signature had been smudged.

He said: "If you're writing to the Queen, you want the letter to look pretty perfect, you don't want the ink to be smudged. This suggests that he wrote a second version of the letter, which was the one that was actually sent to the Queen.

"We'll be doing some further research but this could be the Beatles find of the year. There is no doubt that the handwriting is definitely that of John Lennon."

In his letter, Lennon wrote: "Your Majesty I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the chart.

"With love John Lennon

"John Lennon of Bag."

The letter was one of a number of items belonging to members of the public that were valued during the memorabilia day at The Beatles Story exhibition at the city's Albert Dock.

Martin King, of The Beatles Story, said: "This is an absolute gem and we are thrilled to have seen a piece of memorabilia with such historical significance. Ironically, 26th October was the day that The Beatles received their MBEs from The Queen so it's quite fitting that the letter was brought into us on the exact same date many years later."

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