A 1971 letter from John Lennon to Eric Clapton is expected to cost up to $30,000 at auction next month.
Tempted? Don’t be — we’d recommend resisting the urge to spend the price of a pretty nice car on that piece of paper, because later this month, John Lennon’s estate plans to release an app consisting of 78 letters written by the former Beatle, including 10 letters that have never been made available to the public in any other form.
There’s no word on how much The John Lennon Letters app (iOS) will cost in U.S. dollars, but the British version will cost £6 ($9.60), and the hardcover book version (with additional letters) costs $20. One way or the other, it will be a way better bargain than bidding on the letters themselves at auction.
Besides, the app will come with nifty-sounding extras that paper cannot provide: “commentary and contex” by British author and official John Lennon biographer Hunter Davies; audio versions read aloud by the English actor Christopher Eccleston (a.k.a. Dr. Who); and a foreword by Yoko Ono. According to The Appside, the app will also ship with a curated playlist of Lennon’s music within iTunes and the ability to tweet Lennon’s letters to the world from within the app.
Here’s the description from the hardcover book version:
John Lennon was a writer as well as a musician. It was entirely natural for him to put pen to paper whenever he had an idea, a thought, a reaction or a desire to communicate. He lived — and died — in an age before emails and texts. Pen and ink was what he turned to. John wrote letters and postcards all of his life; to his friends, family, strangers, newspapers, organisations, lawyers and the laundry – most of which were funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking. For the first time, John’s widow, Yoko Ono, has given permission to publish a collection of his letters.
The Editor is the Beatles’ official biographer, Hunter Davies, who knew John well. John’s letters are in a way something of a mystery – where are they all? Over the years many have come up at auction, then sold to dealers and collectors. Or they have been kept by the recipients, locked up safely. It has been a wonderful piece of detective work tracing many of these 250 letters, postcards and notes, which are arranged in chronological order, so that a narrative builds up, reflecting John’s life. It will be visual — in a sense that many of the letters are reproduced as they were, in his handwriting or typing, plus the odd cartoon or doodle. THE JOHN LENNON LETTERS is fundamentally a book to read and study, providing a unique insight into the mind of one of the great figures of our times.