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John Lennon's tooth up for auction

By Chris Kokenes, CNN
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
A molar said to have belonged to the late John Lennon will be going up for auction.
A molar said to have belonged to the late John Lennon will be going up for auction.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The son of Lennon's former housekeeper is selling what he says is the singer's tooth
  • The molar has some discoloration and a cavity
  • Reserve bidding price set at $16,000

New York (CNN) -- No one knows whether the tooth fairy will be in attendance, but a tooth belonging to former Beatle John Lennon will go on auction in England on November 5.

American comedians have long derided the English about their teeth, but is anyone going to spend thousands of dollars on what could be one of the more unusual pieces of Beatles memorabilia?

Karen Fairweather, the owner of Omega Auction house, chuckled when asked why anyone would want to buy the molar and noted that some have expressed interest, while others think it's gross.

"We get a lot of people buying memorabilia as investments," Fairweather said. "Or it could just be a fan that really, really wants a part of John Lennon."

The molar, which has some discoloration and a cavity -- probably why it was removed by a dentist -- will be available with a reserve bidding price of just under $16,000.

Lennon gave the tooth to Dorothy "Dot" Jarlett when she worked as his housekeeper at his Kenwood home in Weybridge, Surrey, according to her son Barry. Jarlett, who was employed between 1964 and 1968, developed a warm relationship with Lennon, her son said.

"She was very close with John, and one day whilst chatting in the kitchen, John gave my mother the tooth (he had been to the dentist to have it removed that day) and suggested giving it to my sister as a souvenir, as she was a huge Beatles fan," he said. "It has been in the family ever since."

With the exception of the last two years, the tooth has been in Canada for 40 years after Dot Jarlett's daughter married a Canadian.

Barry Jarlett, who said his mother is now 90 years old, said it was the right time to pass it on rather than to risk the tooth getting lost.

Fairweather said that the tooth is too fragile to conduct a DNA test but that she has no doubt about its authenticity. "Because it's coming directly from Dot, we don't doubt the provenance of the item," she said.

Some fans will sink their teeth into anything if they feel it's worth plunking down thousands to get closer to their idols. A clump of hair believed to have been trimmed from Elvis Presley's head when he joined the Army in 1958 sold for $18,300 in 2009 at Chicago's Leslie Hindman auctioneers.

Jarlett said Lennon gave his family many gifts over the years. He plans to keep a leather wallet, and his mother still has a pearl necklace Lennon gave her when he returned from Japan.

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