Gillon Aitken

Gillon Aitken has pursued a career as a publisher and literary agent since 1959. He has also translated The Complete Prose Tales of Pushkin and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.

Bidding for Yoko

Gillon Aitken, 25 July 1991

I have a record of a cheque written by me on 22 December 1981. The cheque is in the sum of £780.50, and the payee is Sotheby’s, Belgravia: the counterfoil in my chequebook bears the designation ‘Lennon – Tie’. The £780.50 breaks down as follows: tie – £700; 10 per cent buyer’s commission to Sotheby’s – £70; 15 per cent VAT on that commission – £10.50. Seven hundred pounds for a tie? Yes, that is what I paid. The tie was short and thin and black, and it had a bluish, greasy sheen which proclaimed its service. It carried no designer signature or label. It did come, however, with a ‘certification’: this short, thin, black tie had a provenance. It had been worn by John Lennon at a London concert in the 1960s. The letter of ‘certification’, signed by the impresario concerned and by Lennon himself, confirmed the association between tie and wearer.’

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