John Lennon fingerprint card seized by FBI

John Lennon’s application for United States residence was seized by the FBI this week from a New York memorabilia dealer.

Peter Siegel was intending to auction the 1976 immigration document for a minimum of $100,000. The prints were taken at a New York police station during Lennon’s application to for permanent residence.

Siegel is the co-owner of Gotta Have It! in Manhattan, New York City. After putting a photograph of the form in his Gotta Have Rock and Roll catalogue, officials informed him they wished to inspect the card. Agents from the FBI and US department of homeland security arrived citing an ‘ongoing investigation’.

On Wednesday an FBI agent brought a subpoena demanding the item. Following a number of calls and faxes between the government, Siegel and his lawyer, the card was handed over.

This really has nothing to do with John Lennon per se. It has to do with a government document.
James Margolin, FBI

Siegel claims the card’s owner, a music promoter, bought it at a convention two decades ago. He believes the FBI seized it due to the Lennon connection.

If it wasn’t John Lennon’s card, if it was anybody else’s, I would never have heard from the authorities. The fact is, anything that has to do with the government and John Lennon, they believe shouldn’t be in the public’s hands.
Peter Siegel

According to Lennon’s former lawyer, Leon Wildes, some papers belonging to the residency case were stolen from his offices in 1976, including a fingerprint form, although it is not known whether the two items are the same.

In 1991 Sotheby’s auction house sold a similar card for $4,125, without interruption from the FBI. Officials at Sotheby’s said it was an extra copy made and autographed by Lennon for a policeman, and was not an official document.

Last updated: 9 October 2010
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