On the Auction Block: John Lennon’s “To Do” List and a 1928 Rolls’ Phantom

Blair Pfander
On the Auction Block: John Lennon’s “To Do” List and a 1928 Rolls’ Phantom
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When it comes to statement-making purchases, nothing says “I’ve arrived” quite a 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom—a rare specimen of which hits Bonhams’ “Les Grands Marques du Monde” car auction this week.
Of course, if historical memorabilia revs you up more than classic cars, Prohibition buffs should mark their calendars for February 13, when bidding on a signed deposition of Al Capone—issued mere hours before the gangster’s attempted murder of his mentor, Johnny Turrio—opens at RR Auction.
And if romantic gestures by famous ex-rockers have a way of tugging at your heart—and purse—strings, you won’t want to miss John Lennon’s to-do list, which reminds the Beatle to “get some nice white flowers to put on Y’s desk.” It’s safe to make the assumption that Y is Yoko Ono.

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1955 Alfa Romeo: This apple red whip—which formerly belonged to Betty Roycroft (wife of racing legend Ron Roycroft)—was inspired by the work of Dr. Orazio Satta Puligia, who designed the original 1900 Alfa Romeo as well as the Alfetta Grand Prix racer. All we know it would pair well with a red manicure. Estimated $220,000 - $240,000, February 7 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

Amedeo Modigliani, "Jeanne Hebuterne au Chapeau": One of Amedeo Modigliani's best loved portraits hits Christie's Evening Sale this week. Depicting his common-law wife, Jeanne Hebuterne, the painting exemplifies the artist's "mannerist" technique, with exaggerated curves along her neck, shoulders and arms. Estimated $25,120,000 - $34,540,000, February 6 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Jean-Michel Basquiat, "Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)": A series of works from the super-collectible Jean Michel Basquiat hit auction at Sotheby's this week. Among them, this moody blue canvas—which shows a large, mask-like face staring ominously from a mess of symbols and text—is our top pick. Estimated $10,000,000 - $14,000,000, February 13 at Sothebys.

Photo: Sothebys/Sothebys

Al Capone Deposition: History buffs and gangster movie fans will want to scoop up this Prohibition-era deposition of Al Capone—signed four times—which was taken a few hours before the attempted murder of Capone's mentor, Johnny Torrio. Bidding starts at $17,511, February 13 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auctions/RR Auctions

David Hockney, "Great Pyramid at Giza with Broken Head from Thebes": Egypt in general was a longtime interest of David Hockney's, and this landmark painting, which depicts a single pyramid and a central green palm tree, was drafted during the month Hockney spent exploring the country. Estimated $3,925,000 - $5,495,000, February 13 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Pierre Bonnard Hand-Colored Lithograph: There's no more more charming wall adornment than an old Parisian lithograph like this one by Pierre Bonnard, who found inspiration in old Japanese woodblock prints for his shadowy figures and moody color palettes. Estimated $5,300 - $6,700, February 7 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

John Lennon To-Do List: Sometimes referred to as the "stay-at-home-Beatle," John Lennon had a habit of keeping lengthy to-do lists of household chores like this one scrawled on a yellow legal pad—which, among other things, reminds the star to buy peas, chicken, and "some nice white flowers to put on Y's desk." Bidding starts at $500, February 14 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

Lincoln Letter: All-things Abraham Lincoln are having a major Zeitgeist "moment," so it's hardly surprising that bidding for this hand-written letter by the former POTUS—in which he drafts 258 more troops—opens at nearly $9k. Bidding starts at $8,983, February 13 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

Mickey Mouse Car Mascot: Really, who wouldn't want a nickel-plated brass Mickey Mouse mascot anchored onto the nose of their classic car? Estimated $950 - $1,200, February 7 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I 'Pall Mall': This classic 1928 Phantom was one of a few produced during the company's "Custom Coach Works" program, which organized a supply of brand-built bodywork (i.e., parts sourced within the company, not from outside builders). Estimated $140,000 - $180,000, February 7 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

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