Double Fantasy Recluse


A very strange letter was received by a memorabilia expert in April of 1986. In it, the sender was requesting an appraisal of, among other things, an autographed copy of John Lennon’s Double Fantasy album; the very last he had signed before being shot to death.  A transcript of the strangeness follows below:

April 10, 1986
THURSDAY

Dear [redacted]

First, I’d like you to keep this letter confidential – between us only. Thank you.

I heard you today on Andy Thomas‘s BUFFALO TALKS (WWKB) and felt at least from your voice, I could write you concerning a very personal matter. I also have some random questions which will follow.

On December 8, 1980 I shot and killed John Lennon. Before this, earlier in the afternoon, I had asked him to sign his Double Fantasy album. He did this also signing the date: 1980. I then placed this album behind the security guard’s booth where it was found after my arrest. I have tried unsuccessfully for years (and 2 attorneys) to get this item back, seeking to place it at auction and donating the money to a children’s charity. I felt it was the least I could do. Now, is there any way to assess the value of an item such as this? I have often wanted to write a dealer (Charles Hamilton comes to mind) concerning this but haven’t. I guess listening to you convinced me I could trust you – I’m somewhat of a recluse.

Is there a value that could be assigned to an item like this? Is this something that could only be determined at auction? Please let me know your feelings on this.

I have an autographed Autobiography of Sophie Tucker (it’s inscribed) and was wondering if this is worth anything. There is NO dust wrapper and the condition isn’t that great.

Also, do you have any Stephen King holograph material available? What is the worth of such items?

Any J.D. Salinger letters available? I would like any holograph letters.

Could you send me any addresses of other dealers who might have any of the above items?

Thank you Kindly,

(Signed)

M.CHAPMAN
81 A 3860
BOX 149
ATTICA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
ATTICA, NY 14011        [copy of actual letter at source: Letters of Note]

Only a psychotic would be capable of this sort of gall; of course, this is where Mark David Chapman comes in. Since he is a psychotic, it follows that anything he did/ does shouldn’t surprise us. Nevertheless, I still can’t help being surprised; not only by the letter’s “originality,” but by its cool deliberateness. Attempting to sell a valuable article, made valuable by an act of murder on the seller’s part, is not an easy task; it’s incredibly difficult, I would imagine, to maintain a straight face at such moments.

In any event, the infamous Double Fantasy album came into the possession of one Phillip Michael; a maintenance worker who found it at the murder scene. After handing it over to the police, it was later returned to him. Twenty years later, he sold it to an anonymous bidder for $165,000. Why the album was deemed to be Michael’s property is unknown (at least to me). Chapman continues to be “somewhat of a recluse” and quite short of an album.

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