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Friday, 01 February, 2013 - Modified on Friday, 01 February, 2013 at 11:28 am
Cuttlestones’ Tom Waldron admires the letter from
A letter penned by the maternal aunt of one of music’s most enduring legends is set to sell at auction on the 15th February 2013. Mary Elizabeth ‘Mimi’ Smith played a huge part in John Lennon’s early life; taking custody of the young John when his mother – her younger sister Julia – remarried and was struggling financially.
Despite her vocal disapproval of John’s musical ambitions, girlfriends, wives – and not to mention fellow Beatles - Lennon remained in close contact with Mimi until his death in 1980. A strict but caring guardian, Lennon often referenced his Aunt and their shared sense of humour, and regularly visited her at the bungalow he bought for her in the Sandbanks area of Dorset, where she lived until her death in 1991.
The letter in question was written to a Miss S Hottram of Newcastle, Staffordshire and, whilst undated, is complete with addressed envelope stamped for Woolton, Liverpool on 24 April 1964; just a few weeks after The Beatles celebrated holding the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles list. An achievement it is thought unlikely to be equalled, it is even more remarkable given the fact that The Beatles had a total of 12 singles in the US charts at that time.
With Beatlemania at its peak and the band about to embark on its first world tour, Mimi talks candidly about John and her recently found status as a famous aunt in the letter: “I haven't seen any of these nice things which the fans tell me have been written about me. John certainly has always had a great sense of humour, but he's really nice, always has been."
The letter continues in a friendly, informal tone; finishing with the question "[d]id you laugh over the book? I did." Also included within the lot, is a vintage postcard of The Beatles, each named, and signed in black ink by Mimi Smith. The postcard, letter and envelope are presented together in a glazed frame. Saleroom Manager at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms, which will handle the sale of the letter and post card, says:
“Mimi Smith was a hugely influential character in Lennon’s life and items such as these, originating from the lady herself, very rarely come to market. With the popularity of The Beatles and John Lennon’s magnetism to fans undimmed by the decades both of these lots are likely to appeal to the legions of die-hard fans and serious collectors of rock & roll memorabilia. It’s hard to put a price on lots as rare as these, but they could well trigger a bidding war.”
Music fans may also be interested to hear that a signed postcard of the Beatles’ great 1960s rivals, The Rolling Stones, will also come under the hammer at the 15th February auction. Guided at £200-300, the lot is expected to attract a premium as all six of the band's original line up; including founding member Brian Jones, who died tragically in 1969, and that of Bill Wyman, who left the group in 1993, are featured.
The musical memorabilia is set to sell on Friday, 15th February in the Specialist Collectors’ Sale at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms. Viewing will take place between 10am-7pm on Thursday, 14th February and on the morning of the sale, which will commence at 10am. For those unable to attend in person, an online catalogue will be published at www.cuttlestones.co.uk on Friday, 8th February and telephone and commission bids are welcomed along with the option of live online bidding via www.the-saleroom.com. For further information call 01902 421985.