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Julian Lennon has announced plans to sell the digital rights to his Beatles memorabilia, with no intention of getting rid of the actual pieces.
Instead, the spawn of music icon John Lennon, 58, will sell his collection as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which contain images accompanied by Julian’s narration.
Bidding is now open at Julien’s Auctions, the artist and philanthropist announced Monday. Digital pieces up for auction include the black cape worn by John Lennon for the movie “Help!”; an Afghan coat seen in the 1967 movie “Magical Mystery Tour”; three Gibson guitars that John gave to Julian; and Paul McCartney’s handwritten liner notes for the song”Hey Jude.”
However, all original physical items will remain in Julian’s possession. “This NFT is a single edition of the physical item and does not include the physical item,” a disclaimer on the product pages reads.
Julian thought the fundraiser would be “a unique way to continue Dad’s legacy,” he told Variety.
“I’ve been collecting these personal items for about 30 years, and I was a little sick of them being locked in a vault, where I had to keep them because I didn’t want them to get damaged. ” he said.
The money raised during the auction, which closes on February 7, will benefit Julian’s White Feather Foundation, which supports a variety of environmental and humanitarian causes.
Experts expect the “Hey Jude” documents to generate more than $60,000.
Written by McCartney, the song was originally titled “Hey Jules” as a letter to a young Julian to comfort him when John and his first wife, Cynthia, Julian’s mother, divorced.
“Hey, try to deal with this terrible thing,” McCartney had told the young Lennon, he once said in an interview. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for him [Julian]. I always feel sorry for the children in divorces.”
The song was released in 1968 and became the biggest hit of the year in the United States and the United Kingdom.
McCartney, 79, for his part, listed his real-life, tangible lyric notes for “Hey Jude” in 2020, which had an asking price of $180,000.
A musician in his own right, Julian has released seven albums during his career — with another reportedly on the way in 2022 under BMG. Meanwhile, his White Feather Foundation has been lauded for its work advancing children’s literacy. He’s also penned four children’s books with environmental themes.
Born in Liverpool to John and Cynthia — before the Beatle married artist Yoko Ono, who later gave birth to a half-brother, musician Sean Lennon — Julian has alluded to his fraught relationship with his father as one reason he hasn’t started a family. At times he has publicly blamed Ono for the demise of his childhood.
“I wonder what it would have been like if he were alive today,” he wrote in a statement made on the 20th anniversary of his father’s death in 2000. “I guess it would have depended on whether he was ‘John Lennon’ (Dad) or ‘John Ono. Lennon’ (manipulated lost soul)”.
He added, “Although he was definitely afraid of fatherhood, the combination of that and his life with Yoko Ono led to the real breakdown of our relationship…”
Julian and Sean, born 12 years apart, have also publicly argued over their father’s legacy in the past, although they have reportedly reconciled their differences in recent years .