Lennon's last autograph found in horse sanctuary

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The last autograph signed by John Lennon, just 15 minutes before he was assassinated, has surfaced at a horse sanctuary in Virginia nearly a quarter of a century after his death.

The last autograph signed by John Lennon, just 15 minutes before he was assassinated, has surfaced at a horse sanctuary in Virginia nearly a quarter of a century after his death.

The former Beatle sketched and autographed a self-portrait for a switchboard operator at the New York studio where he recorded his last album.

Rabiah Seminole, 51, hung the drawing, which was also signed by Lennon's wife Yoko Ono, on her bedroom wall but now wants to sell it for £180,000 to raise money for her horse sanctuary in Virginia.

Ms Seminole said: "They were leaving the studio and going out for dinner. Both John and Yoko signed a sheet of paper and drew self-portraits for me.

"I told him he had spelt my name wrong, but he said, 'that is the way it sounds to me'. Then 15 minutes later I got a phone call from a friend who heard John had been shot."

Fifteen minutes after Lennon and Yoko Ono left the Recording Plant studio on 8 December, 1980, he was gunned down outside his apartment by a fan, Mark Chapman.

Five hours earlier Lennon had autographed his solo album Double Fantasy for Chapman, who then waited outside the musician's home and shot him in an apparent bid for fame. Until now, that was thought to be Lennon's last autograph.

Ms Seminole left New York soon after Lennon's death and started a home for rescued horses.

She added: "I was honoured to be given the drawing and it's been hanging in my bedroom all these years. Unfortunately, the centre is quite costly to run and I thought that John would be really happy to know he was helping my horses."

The autograph is being sold on the internet at www.momentsintime.com

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