Beatles' lyrics sheet goes for $192,000


NEW YORK - A Texas bookstore owner bought a rare page of working lyrics for Beatle Paul McCartney's song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" for $192,000 at an auction of rock and pop memorabilia at Christie's on Monday.

Bill Butler also won the bidding for one of rock legend Jimi Hendrix's electric guitars -- a 1968 Fender Stratocaster -- for $168,000, the guitar's strap for $10,800 and a photograph of Hendrix and band members Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell framed by two topless blondes for $5,400.

"I'm worried about getting it all home," Butler, wearing a tan baseball cap emblazoned with the Texas state flag and the words "Vote Kinky Friedman," joked with reporters after the auction.

Butler retired from the telecommunications industry before opening his rare and used book shop in Rosenberg, Texas, just outside Houston. He said he would display the guitar at his bookstore but would store the 1968 McCartney lyrics in a fireproof file cabinet.

Butler lost the bidding for a black leather vest worn on stage by Hendrix. The vest was bought for $28,800 by Don Bernstine, who acquires rock memorabilia for the Hard Rock Cafes, hotels and casinos.

Other big sellers included a notebook containing handwritten lyrics by reggae star Bob Marley, which went for $72,000, and a handwritten poem by Doors singer Jim Morrison, "The American Night," which was sold for $50,400. Both went to private collectors in the United States. Prices included buyer's premiums.

Christie's fall New York auction of 147 lots of guitars, clothing, handwritten lyrics and other memorabilia took in a total of $1,117,920 from people who placed bids in person, by phone and over the Internet. That total was at the upper end of the auction house's estimate of $800,000 to $1.1 million.

The auction included items connected to Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, the Jackson Five, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis and others.

A previously unheard and undocumented interview with John Lennon for Crawdaddy music magazine was sold for $38,400 and an acoustic guitar Dylan played during camping trips went for $24,000. A handwritten 1972 letter by John Lennon to a music magazine about the political situation in Northern Ireland fetched $24,000.

However, a review of Sophocles' "Antigone" written as a junior high school assignment by pop star Britney Spears fetched only about $250, to laughter and applause from bidders, far below the low estimate of $500 -- despite auctioneer Helen Bailey's best efforts.