Cataloging the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library has revealed some surprising treasures. One of the less obvious ones was a book by John Lennon that sat uncataloged on a shelf for a number of years because it didn't look that special. Turns out that it was.
The book is a slim volume titled “Power to the people: the political thoughts of John Lennon.” The book is bound in plain paper wrappers marked “Uncorrected Proof Copy – Not For Sale” and appears to be an advance copy of a book to be published by the large British publisher New England Library in 1972. However, when I came to catalog the book I was puzzled because nobody else seemed to own it- very odd for a book written by a famous person and published by a major publisher. I searched and searched but found no trace of its existence.
An email to a Beatles expert yielded no joy but one to a dealer produced results. He turned up a fairly recent British auction record for another copy. It turns out that what we have is one of ca. 60 proof copies of a work that was never actually published. Why it was never published is not known for sure but the auctioneer guessed that “it is possible that Lennon put a stop to it as he felt that the release of such a work would jeopardize his US green card application and did not give his permission for the final publication.”
This book proved that even the most prosaic looking book can turn into a real find.