Former BEATLE John Lennon's childhood stamp collection is expected to fetch around $53,000 (GBP29,000) when it is sold off at auction.

The IMAGINE singer, who was murdered 25 years ago (DEC80) in New York, was an amateur philatelist during his Liverpool, England, boyhood, and put together an impressive album of stamps.

And Lennon clearly predicted his meteoric rise to stardom because the fascinating relic, which dates from 1950, contains several examples of the singer's signature, while he was practicing his autograph during his pre-Beatles adolescence.

London stamp and autograph dealers STANLEY GIBBONS bought the collection from an American collector, and director RICHARD PURKIS is aware they have found a gem.

He says, "It will be of great interest to Beatles collectors and fans."

15/05/2005 09:42