On the afternoon of December 8th, 1980, outside his apartment in New York, John Lennon, one of the most famous and recognisable faces on Earth, was approached by an autograph hunter who silently handed him a copy of Lennon’s album, Double Fantasy, to sign (see photo above). Lennon obliged. In roughly the same area just a few hours later, that same man, Mark Chapman, shot John Lennon four times in the back, killing him, and then waited for the police to arrive. Six years later, while incarcerated at Attica Correctional Facility in New York, Lennon’s killer wrote a letter to a memorabilia expert with a question.
(Source: The Letters of Note book.)
April 10, 1986
First, I’d like you to keep this letter confidential – between us only. Thank you.
I heard you today on Andy Thomas’s BUFFALO TALKS (WWKB) and felt at least from your voice, I could write you concerning a very personal matter. I also have some random questions which will follow.
On December 8, 1980 I shot and killed John Lennon. Before this, earlier in the afternoon, I had asked him to sign his Double Fantasy album. He did this also signing the date: 1980. I then placed this album behind the security guard’s booth where it was found after my arrest. I have tried unsuccessfully for years (and 2 attorneys) to get this item back, seeking to place it at auction and donating the money to a children’s charity. I felt it was the least I could do. Now, is there any way to assess the value of an item such as this? I have often wanted to write a dealer (Charles Hamilton comes to mind) concerning this but haven’t. I guess listening to you convinced me I could trust you – I’m somewhat of a recluse.
Is there a value that could be assigned to an item like this? Is this something that could only be determined at auction? Please let me know your feelings on this.
I have an autographed Autobiography of Sophie Tucker (it’s inscribed) and was wondering if this is worth anything. There is NO dust wrapper and the condition isn’t that great.
Also, do you have any Stephen King holograph material available? What is the worth of such items?
Any J.D. Salinger letters available? I would like any holograph letters.
Could you send me any addresses of other dealers who might have any of the above items?
Thank you Kindly,
81 A 3860
ATTICA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
ATTICA, NY 14011