Many of us may have been under the misimpression that the sale of relics is a market that has largely disappeared since the height in the Middle Ages. An auction this week shows that it has not disappeared. It has simply moved from religious to rock relics. John Lennon’s remarkably yellow tooth will be auctioned on Omega auction with a price of $16,000. Assuming that all teeth are valued the same, that would mean that John Lennon’s full 32-tooth dental resources (not including baby teeth) are worth $512,000.
Indeed, the full set may be worth more since this tooth as a cavity and is not in peak condition. As John would ask, just imagine.
Karen Fairweather, owner of Omega Auction House, insists that it represents an excellent investment or simply appeals to “a fan that really, really wants a part of John Lennon.” I do not know which is more creepy.
The tooth was acquired by Dorothy “Dot” Jarlett who worked as Lennon’s housekeeper at his home in Surrey between 1964 and 1968. One of the biggest surprises was that it was common for celebrities to give teeth. Now there is a nice tip, “here one of my molars, you can thank me later.” Of course, you only have 32 opportunities for such gratuities. In this case, John surprised Dot with the tooth while chatting in the kitchen. This is even more disconcerting than learning that Lennon might have been a closet Reagan supporter.
It is also an interesting distinction where people are allowed to sell certain body parts like teeth, sperm, blood, and hair but not other body parts like kidneys etc. How far can such a human relic market go? We are accustomed to seeing relics of saints on display. The Lennon sale shows what a deal it was for the citizens of Tréguier, Brittany, France to get the whole skull (with teeth) of Saint Ivo (St. Yves) of Kermartin (1253–1303).
Could this be the next display series for Hard Rock Cafe?