John Lennon's personal, signed copy of the Beatles' "butcher cover" of the U.S. Yesterday and Today LP is up for bid via Heritage Auctions.
Lennon traded the record with a collector for a tape copy of the early Beatles' bootleg Yellow Matter Custard, which featured a batch of the band's BBC recordings. I'd say John lost in the exchange!
Here's the listing:
Beatles - John Lennon's Personal Stereo "Butcher Cover"
Prototype with His Original Artwork on the Blank Back and
Signatures of Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr on the Front.
The Rarest Beatle Record in the World. The term "world class"
is probably a bit over-used in describing collectibles. Labeling
this unique, rare, and desirable Beatles item as "World Class" is
not hyperbole. If anything, it does not do it justice. Offered here
is the Yesterday And Today Stereo Prototype "Butcher Cover"
that was owned by John Lennon and even displayed on the wall of his
Dakota apartment until the point where he had an assistant take it
down and deliver it to the Record Plant where he signed it in blue
ink: "To Dave from/ John Lennon/ Dec 7th 71". The recipient
was Dave Morrell, a Beatles fan and bootleg collector who was in
the studio showing John some of his memorabilia and bootleg
material. The Butcher was given in essentially a trade for a
reel-to-reel tape of the Yellow Matter Custard bootleg that
Lennon desired. Lennon filled the blank back of the cover with an
original piece of art in black ink. It fills the cover and depicts
a man with a shovel and his dog, both posed in front of a setting
sun. Interestingly, he incorporated various tears, stains, and
flaws into the picture.
So far, we have a rare album cover owned and displayed by Beatle
John Lennon with his autograph on the front and a piece of his
original art on the back. That is enough to make it "world class."
Agreed? Well, the original owner Dave Morrell managed to obtain
later two additional Beatle autographs: a bold black felt tip
signature "Ringo Starr" and a blue ink signature "Paul
McCartney", each across their respective images. "Icing on the
cake" to coin a phrase. Included with this lot is a signed Letter
of Authenticity from noted Beatle autograph expert Frank Caiazzo
(text below). Also includes letters of authenticity from both Gary
Hein and Perry Cox (see online description at HA.com for full
letters). In Gary Hein's words: ""There is no Beatles album in the
world that compares with this one, in my professional opinion, in
terms of both Rarity and Value." We don't feel the need to
emphasize further the importance of this piece to the Beatle
collector, or the Art collector, or the Pop Culture collector, or
the Record collector. Don't let this one pass you by! The rarest
Beatle record in the world. From the Stan Panenka Beatles
Text of Letter of Authenticity from Frank Caiazzo dated July 18,
"To Whom It May Concern,
"The purpose of this letter is to serve as authentication of the
signature and artwork of John Lennon, as well as the signatures of
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. This is contained on an
exceptionally rare blank back stereo 'butcher cover' for The
Beatles 1966 LP release 'Yesterday And Today,' which was John
Lennon's personal copy. All three have signed very nicely on the
front cover. The blank back cover contains an amazing piece of art
work, done entirely by Lennon, in which he incorporates tears,
holes and stains into the actual art itself. This item was
originally obtained in late 1971 by Dave Morrell, a bootleg
collector who wound up befriending John and giving him a bootleg
record. To show his appreciation, John gave Mr. Morrell his
personal butcher and signed with a bubble coming out of his mouth,
'To Dave' and also dated December 7, 1971. The signatures of
McCartney and Starr were obtained at later dates, in person by Dave
Morrell himself. Needless to say, this is an amazing signed Beatles
item, and the extra Lennon artwork and the fact that this was his
personal LP cover, combine to make this a world class Beatles
"I hereby guarantee the authenticity of the aforementioned Beatles
'Yesterday And Today' album cover which has been signed and drawn
on by John Lennon, and additionally signed Paul McCartney and Ringo
Starr. This guarantee is without time limit."