A signed sketch believed to be the last thing John Lennon wrote before being assassinated about half an hour later is on sale for $325,000, the former switchboard operator to whom he gave it said Monday.
Rabiah Seminole said she was working at the Record Plant recording studios in Manhattan on Dec. 8, 1980 when Lennon left the building with Yoko Ono at about 10:25 p.m.
She asked him for an autograph and he dashed off a sketch of two faces, signing it “for Ribeah, love, John”. Ono also signed it.
The former Beatle was shot and killed by Mark Chapman when he arrived back at his apartment just before 11 p.m.
Seminole said she had decided to sell the sketch to raise money for a horse rescue center she runs in Chesapeake, Virginia.
The Blue Horse Mukwa Equine Retirement and Rescue Center is home to 27 horses who have suffered such injuries as broken legs, gunshot wounds and abuse. One horse had his eye poked out by a former owner, she said.
Damage from a hurricane last fall has put a strain on the rescue center’s finances, she said.
The sketch and autograph by Lennon is being sold online by dealer Gary Zimet on a site called www.momentsintime.com.
“Drawings like this are fairly common from him. He probably did thousands of these in his lifetime,” he said. “But what is special is it’s the last thing he ever wrote. That puts it in a league by itself.”
Last fall, a copy of Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to the song “Nowhere Man” fetched $455,000 in an auction at Christie’s.