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John Lennon's tooth sells for more than $31,000 at auction

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:28 AM EST, Tue November 8, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Canadian dentist says he is responsible for the winning bid
  • Lennon gave the tooth to his housekeeper after he had it removed
  • The tooth is too fragile to conduct a DNA test

(CNN) -- The tooth fairy's trash became another man's treasure Saturday when a discolored molar that once belonged to John Lennon was put up for auction.

The winning bid came in at 19,500 pounds (U.S. $31,200), according to auction results posted online.

Michael Zuk, a Canadian dentist, is claiming responsibility for the winning bid. Omega Auction House, which sold the tooth, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.

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 past 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.

Karen Fairweather, the owner of Omega Auction House, told CNN last month that the tooth is too fragile for DNA testing but 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 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.

CNN's Chris Kokenes contributed to this report.

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