A Honda Z50A Monkey bought new by Beatles legend John Lennon smashed through its auction estimate at the weekend. It reached a sale price of £57,500 on Sunday.
The Monkey, which we wrote about here, went under the hammer at H&H Classics’ sale at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, UK. John Lennon bought the bike, registered XUC91H, in 1969 to provide transport around his Tittenham Park estate in Surrey. H&H originally estimated that it would achieve between £30,000 and £40,000 at auction, but the bike exceeded expectations.
The bike’s previous owner, John Harrington, held onto it for 47 years. He bought it from Henry Graham of Hook, Hampshire, owner of Motor Cycle City in Farnborough, in 1971. Graham said he’d bought the bike directly from Lennon.
Mark Bryan, Head of Sales for H&H Classics Motorcycle Department, said: “Naturally we were thrilled to be entrusted with the marketing and sale of this bike, given its extraordinary provenance. So to achieve this price is hugely satisfying.”
The real Lennon Monkey?
Oddly, another Monkey bearing the same registration went under the hammer at a Bonhams sale 10 years ago. Its back story was that Beatles drummer Ringo Starr discovered it on the Tittenham Park estate. He bought the property from Lennon, and gave the bike to its later owner. It reached a price of £36,000 in 2008.
H&H is confident that its bike is the real XUC91H, though. Bryan told us: “The other bike was found with no number plate. Our bike comes complete with the original green log book and current V5 [registration certificate] and has been owned by the family since 1971. The engine and frame numbers are correct for the registration.”
Another record sale at H&H’s sale was a prototype Honda CB750. One of four that Honda made in 1969, and also used as a show bike that year, it achieved £161,000. That’s more than four times its top pre-sale estimate of £40,000! Only two of the 1969 prototypes remain. The other is in America. An eBay buyer paid $148,000 for it in 2014.