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Moments in Time auctions off controversial Lennon item

Moments in Time is putting up for auction the controversial "Double Fantasy" album (above) that Lennon autographed for Mark David Chapman prior to the assassination

By Pat Prince

Moments in Time is putting up for auction the controversial "Double Fantasy" album (above) that Lennon autographed for Mark David Chapman prior to the assassination.

The Washingtonville, NY-based auction house is promoting this auction as "THE SALE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF HISTORIC ROCK MEMORABILIA EVER: The Album Signed by John Lennon for Mark Chapman (Five hours before Lennon's death)"

And the following is a press release on their Web site:

Moments in Time' s President, Gary Zimet, has announced that the record album "Double Fantasy" by John Winston Lennon autographed for Mark David Chapman prior to Chapman's assassination of the legendary Beatle is being offered for sale once again. The album, originally acquired by the gentleman who found it in the front gate flower planter outside the Dakota, home of the late John Lennon in 1980 was made famous when pictures of Lennon signing the album for Chapman appeared in the newspapers and on TV stations around the world. A Beatle fan all of his life, this gentleman wrestled for 19 years before coming to the decision to sell the album. The album was sold to a private buyer in 1999 by Moments In Time Inc and is now being offered once again exclusively here. The album bears the signature of John Lennon and is dated 1980. The cover and dust jacket contain forensically enhanced fingerprints of Chapman. This piece of crucial evidence against Chapman was turned into police and then returned to the owner with a letter of extreme gratitude from the District Attorney. "We are very excited to bring such a historically significant piece to the market", said Bob Zafian, spokesman for Moments in Time and agent for the seller. "I have never come across a piece with such provenance; police reports, fingerprint documentation, letters from the District Attorney, it goes on and on".

Interestingly enough, the former owner of this piece of morbid memorabilia sued Moments in Time in 2003, according to an Associated Press release at that time. Philip Michael claimed he was never paid his 95 per cent share of the sale of the "Double Fantasy" album Mr. Lennon signed for Mark David Chapman. It was reportedly sold for approximately $460,000 (U.S.) at auction on Jan. 20, 1999. It is unsure how the suit was settled. But here we go again.

The question is: who would bid on such a morbid item? Also called into question is the auction's timing — on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Lennon's death.

If anything, someone should purchase this album in order to destroy it and take it off the market forever. That's one opinion.

But, enough about us. How do you, the reader, feel about this auction: upset, excited or uncertain?

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