John Lennon Sketches are Phony, Collector Says

     MILWAUKEE (CN) – A man claims he was bilked for $191,000 for phony John Lennon memorabilia. David Petersen says Hawaii-based Celebrites Galleries sold him 14 sketches and a microphone, claiming Lennon used it to record “Imagine.” But Petersen says the microphone was not even made until 6 years after the “Imagine” album, and he says the sketches are bogus too.

     In his federal complaint, Petersen says he paid more than $191,000 for the microphone and the 14 sketches supposedly drawn by Lennon. Petersen, of Waukesha, says he collects John Lennon memorabilia.
     He sued Celebrites Galleries, of Kihei, Hawaii; its owners, Gerard Marti and his wife, Colleen Noah-Marti; and an employee, an insurer, and the gallery’s payroll company.
     Petersen says he did not know he’d been had until he found out that the microphone was made 6 years after the “Imagine” album. He decided he had better check the authenticity of the sketches, too, and says that they are also phony.
     Petersen claims Gerard Marti supplied him with a “provenance” for each of the 14 drawings, and a certificate of authenticity. He says that Marti claimed that Dr. Jesse Steinfeld, a former U.S. Surgeon General, had befriended Lennon while the two were on the “Mike Douglas Show,” which the former Beatle co-hosted with Yoko Ono in 1972.
     Petersen says Celebrites told him that Dr. Steinfeld collected the sketches that Lennon drew while he was bored during the show. He claims Marti told him that Steinfeld’s son inherited the artwork, and eventually sold it to Celebrites.
     But Petersen says that Steinfeld did not have a son – just three daughters.
     Petersen says he hired a forensic document analyst and ink dating specialist, Erich Speckin, who told him that the drawings “were not authentic,” and could not have been drawn during the time period that Celebrites said they were.
     Petersen seeks punitive damages for misrepresentation, negligence, breach of contract and fraud. He is represented by Gerald Boyle with Boyle, Boyle & Boyle.

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