I’d like to go off topic today and tell you a little story about how I turned $120 into $7000. And about how stupid I was not to wait so I could be a rich man today.
In the late 1970′s, I bought through an auction house in New York, one of John Lennon’s bank cards. It was from Barkley’s bank, and it basically said that Lennon was free to use it as long as it was under $200, but over that it must be agreed upon by his two lawyers. I paid $120 for it.
The little card was signed by Lennon and these two lawyers.
I held onto this card for a few years, and then I thought I should sell it, so I put an ad in the Ottawa Citizen, but no one called.
Except one day someone did call. He told me his name, said he used to play in a band in NYC, and was a big Beatles collector. And amazingly enough, he even described the card I had.
He said he didn’t have much money, but would I be willing to trade, and I said I didn’t mind having a look at what he might offer. So I went to his apartment.
His apartment was jammed full of Beatles memorabilia. It was amazing. And he looked at my card and said yes, that’s the one he thought.
He then pulled out a binder of sheets of original John Lennon lyrics written in pencil from one particular album “Sometime in New York City”, one of Lennon’s lesser known releases, and asked me if I would like to choose one of the lyrics sheets and trade.
So I did. I chose the title song from the album, it was original indeed, in beautiful condition, and at the bottom was one of Lennon’s hand-drawn cartoons of him and Yoko.
So I kept this piece of paper for several years. But then my first wife and I began thinking about how nice it would be to turn our dark, musty old basement into a beautiful rec room, and we started getting quotes, and each quote that came in made us more depressed. We didn’t have the thousands of dollars to get this done right.
So I decided to put my John Lennon lyrics in another New York auction, at Sotheby’s, and it sold for $7000. We finished the basement, bought brand new furniture for it, and added a lovely big television. It was here I watched my Habs and Canada Cups and Expos.
That was good. John Lennon paid for my new rec room. But you know what? If I would’ve kept the lyrics and sold them today, it would go for well into six figures instead of a lousy seven grand.
It was just another big mistake for me in a long line of big mistakes.