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Mail Register from The "Dakota" - John Lennon's Apartment Building - With John Lennon Signature!
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $7,110.00
The Dakota, which is located at West 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York City, has always been one of New York City's most fashionable luxury apartment buildings, home to the city's cultural elite, as well as celebrities and artists of every kind. Among the many notables who have called The Dakota home over the years are singer Judy Garland, actor Boris Karloff, actress Lauren Bacall, playwright William Inge, football player Joe Namath, football coach and announcer John Madden, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, photographer Annie Leibowitz, dancer Rudolph Nureyev, singer Roberta Flack, film critic Rex Reed, actor Jack Palance, and comedienne Gilda Radner. The most famous resident, however, was former Beatle John Lennon, who resided there with his wife Yoko Ono from the early 1970s until the time of his tragic death in front of the building on December 8, 1980. Offered here is a rare piece of Dakota history in the form of the building's official mail registry book, which was used for approximately ten years, beginning in 1976. This particular book was used to record the delivery of registered or certified mail to the building's residents. Each entry records the name of the resident to whom the package/envelope was addressed, the certified or registered mail number for the package/envelope, the signature of the front clerk who initially signed for it, and finally the signature of the recipient when they picked it up. In most cases, especially for the celebrities, a secretary or a member of the household staff ultimately signed for the packages, but a few entries feature the actual signatures of the recipient, including Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Annie Leibowitz, Roberta Flack, and Rex Reed. While there are numerous entries for John Lennon, as well as Yoko Ono, only one features the actual signature of John Lennon. That signature, penned in blue ink (grading "10") appears on page 5 of the register. Unfortunately, page 5 is the first page in the register, with the first four pages having been removed, including the left-hand page that would have recorded the date on which Lennon signed for the item. However, there is a date of "12/3/76" written next to the entry directly above Lennon's, and ten spaces down another entry is dated "12/14/76," so we know that Lennon signed the register sometime within that short eleven-day span. The signature of Yoko Ono (also in blue ink, grading "9") appears two entry spaces above Lennon’s. 158 pages of the register record deliveries, with the earliest complete date listed as "11/20/76" and the last "3/18/87." One of the most interesting aspects of the ledger is that it records a tremendous volume of mail deliveries to Yoko Ono immediately after Lennon's death, most likely from close friends and fans offering their condolences. Because of Lennon's untimely demise, his signature remains scarce today. The offered Lennon signature is an especially desirable example not only for its association with the Dakota, which is now indelibly linked to Lennon's death, but for its inherent authenticity as well. The hard-bound register (6 x 12 inches), which has "Dakota Registered Mail" written in blue ink on the front cover, displays heavy wear, commensurate with its decade-long use. There is near-complete separation along the spine, but the pages all remain bound together, with the exception of page 5 (featuring the Lennon signature). The pages are free of any significant defects outside of normal expected wear. In Very Good condition overall. Accompanying the register are a few related ancillary items: 1) a photocopy of a signed letter from Yoko Ono to the Dakota staff thanking them for their support and help following Lennon's death, 2) a photocopy of a flier issued by the Dakota Board of Directors to all residents regarding the administration of photo identification cards following Lennon's death, 3) a photocopy of a letter from Yoko Ono declaring October 9th as International World Peace Day, 4) an original Polaroid snapshot of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the lobby of the Dakota, and 5) a photographic New Years card picturing Yoko, Sean, and their staff, signed "To Joe, Wishing you a beautiful year! Love, Yoko and Sean" (the card has been separated for the purpose of displaying both sides). This lot was sold at public auction once before many years ago (in October 2001, at which time it sold for $4,000) and has been consigned to this auction directly from the original purchaser. Full LOA from Frank Caiazzo (for the Lennon and Yoko Ono signatures in the register only) and LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,110.00
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