John Lennon's "Day in the Life" Lyrics Net $1.2 Million at Sotheby's

John Lennon's "Day in the Life" Lyrics Net $1.2 Million at Sotheby's
Halfway through an otherwise staid books and manuscripts auction at Sotheby’s on Friday, a burst of energy shot through the room as musician John Lennons handwritten lyrics for the Beatles' 1976 song “A Day in the Life” shot past its $800,000 high estimate to sell for $1.2 million — more than half of the sale’s $2.35 million haul.

Other lots in the auction included works that had been written by a wide spectrum of writers, politicians, and artists. A selection of letters by the Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte sold for $218,500, on the low end of its $200–400,000 estimate, while a letter by Joseph Stalin just surpassed its $15,000 low estimate, selling for $17,500.(It's nice to think that how much the sale of "Back in the U.S.S.R" would have thrown that price in the shadows.)

American history buffs were able to find works on offer, as well, including an 1864 pardon of Josiah Pillsbury for “all treasons, felonies and misdemeanors by him committed against the government of the United States,” signed by President Abraham Lincoln. On a somber note, the lot was followed by the sale of a handbill issued by J. C. McKee, the “surgeon in charge” at the Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, D.C., that announced Lincoln’s death. (The hospital was named after the president in 1862, three years before his assassination.) Estimate to earn $2,500–3,500, the bulletin fetched $3,750.