November 30, 2010 / 9:21 PM / 10 years ago

Bob Dylan lyrics seen fetching big money at auction

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bob Dylan’s hand-written lyrics to the 1960s anthem “The Times They Are A-Changin” will hit the auction block next month and could sell for more than a quarter-million dollars, Sotheby’s said on Tuesday.

The dog-eared, smudged and discolored 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheaf of lyrics, topped with an underscored “by Bob Dylan,” are set to be sold on December 10 with an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, Sotheby’s said.

Dylan wrote the classic song, which he said was influenced by Scottish and Irish ballads, during his early years in New York and it served as the title track of his 1964 album. Since then, it has been recorded by dozens of artists from The Beach Boys to Josephine Baker.

Shortly after Dylan recorded the song, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and Dylan opened a concert with the seminal protest song on the next night.

It has since been regarded as a hallmark of 1960s-era change, counterculture and the anti-war movement.

The hand-written lyrics once belonged to Dylan’s friend Kevin Krown, who Sotheby’s said introduced Dylan to the Greenwich Village music scene.

But Dylan was slack about keeping his manuscripts, and it was thanks to Krown and Dylan’s friends Eve and Peter MacKenzie that such pieces survive, according to the auction house.

Hand-written lyrics by icons of such stature can fetch huge sums at auction. Last June, John Lennon’s lyrics to “A Day in the Life,” the final song on the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, soared to $1.2 million, far more than the $500,000 to $800,000 Sotheby’s had estimated.

Other highlights of Sotheby’s books and manuscripts auction include an inscribed copy of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” estimated to sell for $80,000 to $100,000, Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” from 1781 and a 1632 edition of Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories and Tragedies.” The Jefferson and Shakespeare works each are estimated at $125,000 to $175,000.

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