1969 John Lennon “Bed In” Sign | Extraordinary Finds | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS

1969 John Lennon “Bed In” Sign | Extraordinary Finds | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS


APPRAISER: He had absolutely no idea what’s happened to the market for this stuff, so it was really fun for me to be able to drop a giant price bomb on Ted (laughs). GUEST: I bought it in an auction about 27 years ago. APPRAISER: How much did you pay for it? GUEST: It started at $300, the bidding, and I got it for $400. APPRAISER: We do see that there’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono signatures on it with his little face that he would draw with he and Yoko. The more important thing about this piece is not just the signatures; it’s the fact that we have this photo of it sitting at their Bed-in in 1969. They were protesting the Vietnam War and wanted peace. They were going to have the Bed-in in New York, but because of his cannabis conviction, he wasn’t allowed back in the country, so they decided to go up to Montreal. GUEST: Mm-hm. APPRAISER: And during these days there, they had a number of guests come. They had Timothy Leary, and Murray the K is one of the people that came to visit. So this is the sign hanging on the wall over here saying that Murray the K comes on Monday. APPRAISER: So the cool thing about those bed-in posters is they all these wonderful things to put up on the walls behind them, cause they knew the press was coming. But then when they took them all down, He signed them all. And they would put the little doodles on them and of course there’s the little John Lennon and Yoko Ono doodle on this one as well. APPRAISER: I would say at auction, conservatively, given the context on this, they would probably put anywhere between $50,000 and $75,000 on it. GUEST: My God! I’m in a state of shock, that’s great news. Thank you so much. APPRAISER: I saw your knees go out a little bit there for a second. GUEST: They did, they did, Laura. APPRAISER: I’m glad you held on. APPRAISER: I remember the moment I told him the price, I saw his knees buckle a little bit. He, um, just kind of dipped and I though man, this guy is going to hit the ground, which is amazing and terrible all at the same time. I started in this business in 1997 at Sotheby’s. He purchased it at Sotheby’s in 1987, so it was really fun for me because this piece started at Sotheby’s ten years before I started working there, but when I left that show I ran home and pulled my catalogue copy of that to confirm that everything he said was true and it was right as rain. It was all right there. What I noticed is that Ted was, even in 1987, he was quite lucky to have purchased this for $400, because this was one of, I believe, seven pieces that this publicist sold. And they sold for $3,000 to $5,000 a piece. But they had no photo of this in the catalogue, so because of the fact that no one could see what it looked like, and they had to go off of it’s a piece of paper and this is what it says, he picked it up for a steal. I mean he really got a great deal, even back then. When I left the auction business I decided to really be just an appraiser. I don’t buy, sell, deal, auction myself. I’m happy to assist and help people find a good place to sell, but I’m not the person to help sell a piece like this. In 2015, a year after we did the appraisal with Ted, he decided to sell the poster at auction, he reached out to Heritage Auctions. As you might predict, pieces like this come up so infrequently, that bidding was quite active and happily this sold for $75,000, which I couldn’t be happier for someone like Ted.

3 Comments

  • TheComicalCanadian says:

    amazing video you deserve more views

  • James Ingram says:

    I wonder what the market is going to be like in the future as people, most influenced by the Beatles, leave the memorabilia market?

  • jay parry says:

    I once met a lady at a record store who was actually the only teen in the hotel room at the bed in…She had help John write out the lyrics to Give Peace A Chance on big board. As a gift for helping him, John gave her the original lyrics sheet, which she had sold at auction a few years before I met her…As I recall she said she had only gotten $60000 at the auction for those original lyrics…

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