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The Fab Four member was murdered by Mark David Chapman, a Beatles fan who despised their anti-religious lyrics and had become obsessed with the book The Catcher In The Rye. Chapman fired four bullets into John’s back as he entered The Dakota, his New York apartment, and this year had his 11th appeal for parole rejected. Next week marks the 40th anniversary of the Imagine singer’s death. Instead of reflecting on John’s impressive legacy, some fans have unleashed their fury over an album the singer signed for Chapman going up for auction, Express.co.uk can reveal.
John and his second-wife Yoko Ono were approached by his future killer for an autograph five hours before he was shot dead.
The Beatles star signed his name and wrote the year ‘1980’ on Chapman’s copy of the Double Fantasy album before he headed off to a recording session.
When the singer returned to The Dakota, at around 10.50pm, his murderer was “waiting in an archway entrance” and later stashed the album in a nearby planter.
The autograph was believed to be John’s “last signature” and is due to go under the hammer this month, with US-based Goldin Auctions, where it could sell for $2million (£1.5million).
Auction director Dave Amerman told Express.co.uk that they had received “some interesting feedback” because the “emotional piece” had “hit home” with fans.
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He explained: “Some people were more or less opposed to the sale, we have two different sides… this will stir all sorts of emotions in people.
“This John Lennon album is potentially one of his last signed albums and due to the history behind it fans want to have it.”
Mr Amerman stated that they were “not raising money to support any murderers” nor were they “condoning or advocating for what occurred” – instead they considered it a “tribute”.
But John’s fans seemed less than comfortable with the item going up for sale and some publicly took to Twitter to vent their fury.
One user wrote: “Years don’t wipe away the crime.”
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A second tweeted: “Who the f*** would want that? At best it’s a morbid conversation piece.”
Musician Rod Davis, who played alongside John in The Quarrymen before The Beatles formed, felt the sale was “a difficult one” to judge.
He told Express.co.uk: “Unfortunately, I don’t think you can stop people even if it’s bad taste and macabre or you don’t approve.
“Some people may want it out of respect as it was the last autograph he ever signed, I suppose you can argue in both directions… it’s a difficult one.”
In other tweets, one user claimed that they “wouldn’t buy that if I had a trillion bucks” because of the “bad mojo”.
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A second demanded that the future owner should “burn it” and another added: “That’s still purely ghoulish. Ugh.
One person tweeted that despite being 40 years on it “remains like a fresh wound” and that John was “music’s greatest loss”.
Despite the backlash, Mr Amerman felt the piece was “a tribute to the life and career of John Lennon” – and later stated that “emotions are what drives up the price”.
He told Express.co.uk: “The situation that occurred around it is unfortunate, horrible and tragic but the item still is what it is.
“It is an incredible one-of-a-kind piece that we are using to honour his legacy on the 40th anniversary.
“We are certainly not trying to make light of it or honour the murder himself – and we have turned down items of Mark Chapman before.
“We don’t sell items from murderers, terrorists or Adolf Hitler – we stay away from anything like that.”
Mr Amerman expected the Double Fantasy album to sell for a “seven-figure sum” because of the backstory to the piece.
He told Express.co.uk: “John Lennon’s was the toughest Beatles autograph to get and it is an important historical item.
“You’re not going to have another opportunity to find these items again, they come up once every so often and not something that will be back in another auction any time soon.
“If someone really is interested in acquiring this piece they might not have another chance.”
To register a bid or for more information visit: www.goldinauctions.com.
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