Lennon, Formby and Elton top bill at auction

A collection of unseen photos of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, George Formby’s banjoleles and Elton John’s piano will all go under the hammer today.

The Lennon photographs, taken over several months in Paris, Amsterdam and London, are by photographer Luis Garrido.

Garrido first met Lennon and Ono in March 1969 while they were on honeymoon at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Paris.

After striking up a friendship, he was invited to Amsterdam where he took shots of the couple at the Hilton Hotel – the setting for their famous “bed-in”.

In June of that year he met up with Lennon and Ono in London, capturing images of John mixing 'Give Peace A Chance' at the Trident Studios and the couple working in composing in their office at Apple in Savile Row.

There are 45 colour transparencies and 323 negatives in the collection, which is expected to sell for between £75,000 and £90,000 (€94,000-€113,000).

Apart from a few images which appeared in a newspaper several years ago, the photographs are all unpublished.

The Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale also sees the auction of the banjolele George Formby used to record his hit 'When I’m Cleaning Windows'.

The Abbott Monarch banjolele, which the film star referred to as Little Strad is believed to have been his favourite instrument and is expected to fetch up to £45,000 (€57,000).

Formby’s gold-plated Dallas E banjolele, used during the entertainer’s live performances is also being sold off.

It was presented to Formby in 1930 by Dallas, the instrument’s makers and is estimated at £20,000 (€25,000) to £35,000 (€44,000).

Formby’s Dallas C banjolele will also be sold – estimated at £20,000 (€25,000) to £30,000 (€38,000).

Formby became a music hall performer following his father’s death in 1921. He took up playing the ukulele as a hobby, but, after incorporating it into his act, it became his trademark.

A Steinway grand piano, a fixture of Sir Elton’s Windsor home is expected to fetch £35,000 (€44,000) to £45,000 (€57,000).

The piano was played by the singer during many rehearsals and singalongs with stars including Kiki Dee and Take That.

The piano, which measures 8ft by 11in, is made in a burr maple wood finish. It was completed in Hamburg on September 27, 1971 and shipped to Steinway & Sons in London where it was bought by Elton John.

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