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Battle to keep Lennon piano in Liverpool
LONDON, England -- Museum officials in Liverpool have launched an appeal to keep the piano John Lennon used to compose "Imagine" in the late Beatle's native city.
Shelagh Johnston, curator and manager of the Beatles Story, where the piano has been on display since February, says she is worried the buyer of the instrument at auction on Tuesday will take it away from the port city in northwestern England.
"We've already lost unique treasures such as the original Cavern Club and the overhead railway, now we want to keep as much of our history here as possible before it's too late," she said on Friday.
"The Beatles Story would love to be able to bid for the piano, but we are a privately run museum and it is completely out of our league."
The auctioneers -- Fleetwood Owen -- hope the piano will fetch at least £1.5 million ($2.2 million) at a sale of pop memorabilia at the Hard Rock Cafe in London.
Johnston, who has been seeking a benefactor, will be at the auction and hopes to persuade the buyer to house Lennon's piano in the Beatles museum, which would bear the insurance costs.
Bidding is likely to be heavy and high. The auctioneers acknowledge that the piano may leave Britain forever.
Steinway has authenticated the upright walnut piano as the one Lennon bought in 1970 for around £1,000 ($1600).
The former Beatle, who composed "Imagine" a year later, was murdered outside his New York apartment by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. Chapman was denied parole earlier this month.
Footage from "Gimme Some Truth," the 1971 film made by Lennon and Yoko Ono during the "Imagine" sessions, shows him composing the famous song.
In one clip, a relaxed-looking Lennon runs through the tune on the piano before remarking: "That's the one I like best."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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