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McCartney halts 'Hey Jude' sale

The lyrics to 'Hey Jude' had been due to be auctioned
The lyrics to 'Hey Jude' had been due to be auctioned  

LONDON, England -- A sale of rare Beatles memorabilia is set to take place without one of the main lots after Sir Paul McCartney intervened.

Christie's in London had expected to raise up to 80,000 ($116,000) for a set of handwritten lyrics for McCartney's "Hey Jude."

It was to be among the star lots in a sale on Tuesday at the auction house's London headquarters.

But on Monday, McCartney took the matter to London's High Court, claiming the valuable piece had disappeared from his home.

He succeeded in getting a legal block on the sale until ownership is decided by agreement or a trial.

Rik Pike, a spokesman for Christie's, told CNN: "Following an application by Sir Paul McCartney, the courts have ordered the withdrawal of the 'Hey Jude' lyrics from the sale."

Pike said the lyrics have been removed from the auction, which is going ahead as planned.

The McCartney manuscript -- 19 lines long and some of it corrected on a sheet of white paper -- omits the last six lines of the released version of what became one of The Beatles' best-known singles.

Richard Meade, representing McCartney at Monday's court hearing, said the lyrics had a great emotional value to the former Beatle.

The court was told that the song was written to cheer up Julian Lennon when his father, John, was going through a divorce with his mother, Cynthia.

Paul McCartney
McCartney wrote the song for John Lennon's son  

The lyrics were sent for auction by Frenchman Florrent Tessier, who bought them in London's Portobello Road in 1971 or 1972 when he was a student.

Meade said Tessier had framed the manuscript -- a leaf from a notepad -- and put it on display in his house, although he said he did not realise it was an authentic document until six years ago, when he had it valued by Sotheby's.

The judge, Mr Justice Laddie, granted an injunction stopping the lot being sold at auction and ordered that the lyrics remain at Christie's until their ownership had been decided.

Christie's proposal that McCartney bid for the lyrics himself was a "highly unattractive proposal," said the judge.

Laddie said John Lennon had described "Hey Jude" as one of McCartney's masterpieces. Laddie said he hoped the case could be resolved between McCartney and Tessier out of court.

There are more than 200 lots being auctioned, of which approximately 90 are Beatles items and Beatles-related memorabilia.

They include two previously unreleased recordings by Lennon, publicity postcards, record covers, fan magazines, autographs, posters, pictures, drawings, belt buckles and autographs charting the Fab Four's rise to fame.


• Lennon airport statue unveiled
March 15, 2002
• Sir Paul sings tribute to Harrison
February 25, 2002
• McCartney announces Drivin' tour
February 4, 2002
• Minute's silence for Beatle George
December 3, 2001
• 'Devastated' McCartney leads tributes
November 30, 2001
• Fans mourn Liverpool legend
November 30, 2001
• Lennon rant fails to sell
October 4, 2001
• Beatles house, lyrics for sale
June 15, 2001

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