A shirt spattered with the blood of late Beatles star John Lennon has sold at auction for £31,000 ($AUD55,000).
The white button down shirt was worn by concierge Jay Hastings as part of his uniform while he worked at The Dakota building in New York. Hastings was on duty on December 8, 1980, when singer Lennon was shot by deranged fan Mark Chapman as he and wife Yoko Ono entered the porch of The Dakota to go up to their flat. After being shot twice in the back and twice in the shoulder, Lennon stumbled into the entrance way, where Hastings covered the musician with his suit jacket. In his attempt to aid the ailing star, some of Lennon’s blood seeped into the shirt on its chest and sleeves.
The shirt is still owned by Hastings, but he recently decided to sell the macabre item at auction. While it was expected to reach in the region of £7,000 ($9,216) as the auction took place on Saturday, it eventually sold for a staggering £31,000, according to Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper.
Garry Shrum, of Heritage Auctions, said: “Jay Hastings kept this shirt all these years and never really spoke about it. It has just been sitting in a drawer for years and now he is getting older he felt it was time to sell it.
“There are remnants of blood on the shirt. Some people might be appalled but it’s a piece of history. We did ask ourselves ‘is this too dark or wrong to sell’ but I don’t think it is.
“He is not exploiting John Lennon’s death. He is telling the story of how he tried to help John Lennon in the last few minutes of his life.”
The auction sale also included a copy of the album Double Fantasy – which includes a handwritten message that reads: “To Jay, Love John Lennon Yoko Ono”.
In addition, the buyer, who is believed to have chosen to stay anonymous, bought a 1978 Thanksgiving card from Lennon, complete with a doodle and John’s signature, and a typed letter from Ono thanking the staff of the building for their help two weeks after the singer’s death.
[VVN Music Note] In our opinion, no, this is not appropriate unless he had the permission of Yoko and, possibly, other family members.
A blood stained shirt does not tell “the story of how he tried to help John Lennon”. Written words would do that but not a red stained shirt.
It is a shirt splattered with blood in one of the worst moments in rock music history. It is the last lifeblood of a living human who was gunned down by a sociopath.
This is nothing more than a money grab. If the seller really cared about what he had and had respect for Lennon, he would have given the shirt to Yoko for her to destroy or memorialize in her own way.
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