Row over Lennon bike authenticity

Lennon Monkey and CB750 prototype hit record prices

John Lennon

THE HAMMER came down at £50,000 for a 1969 Honda Z50A Monkey originally owned by John Lennon when H&H sold it at auction this week.

That was £10,000 above the bike’s top estimate, and when fees were added gave a total sale price of £56,250. Surely it’s the most expensive Honda Monkey ever to be sold.

Its previous owner kept the bike for 47 years, having bought it from a dealer who said it came from the John Lennon’s Tittenhurst Park estate. Pictures of Lennon riding the machine appear to confirm its status.

However, it’s worth noting that another Monkey, also wearing the front number plate ‘XUC91H’, was sold at a Bonhams entertainment memorabilia auction a decade ago. Back in 2008, that machine – which its previous owner claimed to have been given by Ringo Starr, who bought the Tittenham Park estate from Lennon – sold for £36,000 including premium.

H&H stand by theirs as being the real McCoy, though, pointing out that it went complete with an original log book and bore the correct engine and frame numbers to be XUC91H.

1969 Honda CB750

The same H&H sale also saw a prototype Honda CB750 from 1969 smash through its upper estimate. One of four prototypes made in 1969, of which only two are known to exist today, it was expected to reach £35,000-£40,000. Instead bids rocketed to a final sale price of nearly four times that upper estimate, the gavel coming down at a jaw-dropping £157,500 including premium.