08 October 2007

John Lennon. Celebrities Choice. 1966.

(John Lennon & others.) CELEBRITIES CHOICE. National Book League, London 1966.

Current Selling Prices $100 + / £50+

It is always worth looking at pamphlets and thinnish wraps items as they can be rare and are often overlooked. There is at least one dealer who looks at nothing else. This piece from 1966 might attract attention because of the words 'celebrity' - the right contributors can make a pamphlet worth its weight in gold This one not only has a contribution by John Lennon but also Philip Larkin and Harold Pinter. I described the last one I saw thus:
'8vo. Illustrated wraps. pp 24. The favourite books of such diverse celebrities as John Lennon, Julie Christie, J. Paul Getty, Joyce Grenfell, Philip Larkin, Harold Pinter, Margery Allingham, Joan Sutherland, etc. John Lennon had chosen some interesting books. he has divided them into up to the age of 11 (Alice, Wind in Willows), teens (Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Sartre, Steinbeck, Thurber), from the age of 20 (De Sade, Heller, A.A. Milne, Alan Watts), current reading (Thomas Stanley, Pre-Roman Britain). Harold Pinter chooses 2 Becketts, a Donne, a Dostoyevsky, a Joyce, and Kafka's The Castle. Philip Larkin as usual plumps for Barbara Pym...'

In Hunter Davies bio of the Fabs he notes that, of the Beatles, only Lennon had a proper collection of books--the only books I can recall Davies mentioning were 'The Mass Psychology of Fascism' and 'The Passover Plot.' I have also read somewhere he had a copy of 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds' - a book that if it was updated would have a chapter on the Beatles. Last week I met a woman in her early 60s who had known the boys in Liverpool in the Cavern days, she described John as short-sighted and consequently rather aloof, Paul as friendly - but all the girls loved George the most and, oddly enough, were also crazy about Pete Best who was considered very handsome. His good looks may have lead to his being edged out of the group...She was at the Cavern on the momentous day that Brian Epstein came to check them out. When, a little later, she turned up at a gig where all the fans were screaming the house down and you couldn't hear the music, she stopped following the group - sic transit gloria mundi...

VALUE? This has sold in the past for $120 and more and appears to be quite hard to find and is easy to miss. It has to be in very nice condition, pamplets often get creased and mangled. Once Beatle collectors have got all the major and minor books they start looking around for ephemeral stuff such as this, what in a bibliography would be a 'B' item (contributions to books.) I once saw a rather silly Beatle book going for £10--an attempted genealogy of the moptops that apparently was produced in a mere handful of copies --that must now be worth a goodly sum. There are also rarish opuscula on trivia such as the supposed death or disappearance of Paul...


Anonymous said...

While I for one would certainly pay good money for a Hunter Thompson biography of the Beatles, especially if it were illustrated by Ralph Steadman, I don't think such a thing exists -- I'm guessing you mean Hunter Davies' bio of the Fab Four, instead. Candi at "handpickedbooks"

Bookride said...

Thanks I have now corrected this--well spotted. He was known in Private Eye as 'Oonter Davies' --for no good reason. N