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Beatles expert calls for halt on sale of John Lennon's detention records

by Ian Mitchelmore. Published Wed 20 Nov 2013 16:23

A Beatles expert has called for the auction of the John Lennon school detention records to be called-off until ownership rights can be properly established.

Documents revealed the Fab Four icon's antics at Quarry Bank High School, now Calderstones in Allerton, Liverpool where he was dubbed the "class clown".

Teachers noted that Lennon was punished for fighting in class, being a nuisance and showing "just no interest whatsoever".

The documents will go under the hammer on TracksAuction.com on Friday but an expert is urging for the auction to be called off so the ownership rights can be established.

Phil Coppell, who is a leading Beatles Tour Guide in Liverpool, said: "These documents were clearly the property of the school authorities and how they got into private hands should be the subject of a proper investigation.

"If the current keeper of the documents claims to have found them, or rescued them when they were being thrown away, that does not mean that he automatically owns them and can sell them at auction.

"When pieces of Beatles memorabilia emerge, and it sometimes turns-out that the person trying to sell does not really have good title to them.

"Paul McCartney has stopped a number of dubious sales over the years.

"I suggest that the City Council, or the Mayor's Office, should contact the auctioneers and assert ownership of these school records, as a matter of urgency.

"The city could reclaim them and, perhaps, make a small payment in gratitude to the person who has had them in 'safe keeping' until now.

"This way the city council would be them to the collection at the Museum of Liverpool, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

"They form just the kind of social record that would fit into the museum, with the added attraction that they refers to one of its most famous sons.

"It would regard it as negligent if the city did not, at least try, to regain ownership of these artefacts which were clearly in the possession of the council in the past, and have not been sold or given away."

But the auctioneers have said the sheets, which show Lennon's misdemeanours during his time at the school in the mid-50s, were abandoned by the school and as a result can be sold to the highest bidder.

The auctioneers' director Paul Wane said: "The person from whom we purchased the detention sheets was told, literally, to dispose of all of the books in the room that they were instructed to clear, as per our press release.

"All of this was documented by the owner of the detention sheets at the time that we acquired them.

"The legal advice that we have taken holds that the documents were effectively abandoned by the school.

"The person who saved the documents has essentially retrieved a valuable piece of pop culture history and we think he deserves a big pat on the back."


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"Philip Coppell is not only a Tour Guide but also holds A Masters degree in "The Beatles and Popular Music" which is why we consult him." Editor, Liverpool around 1 year, 4 months ago

""Beatles Expert"? How about, "Liverpool Tour Guide"? What a deceptive headline. Shame on you..." Sir Wall St, USA around 1 year, 6 months ago

"A big pat on the pack, yes, but it's certain from the auctioneers' response that this item is stolen." Michael Kearney, Bristol around 1 year, 6 months ago

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