John Lennon sat down at his piano on Jan. 17, 1967, and used a black felt-tip marker to start writing the lyrics to a song called “A Day in the Life.” He revised the song on the same sheet of paper that afternoon with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney and it became the centerpiece of the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Now, nearly four decades later, the two-sided lyric sheet is expected to fetch more than $2 million at auction. “It’s absolutely the finest rock and roll artifact to survive the 20th century,” Martin Gammon, a book and manuscript analyst at Bonhams & Butterfields, said Thursday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Bonhams is auctioning the Lennon lyrics along with manuscripts that include correspondence from Gandhi, checks signed by Marilyn Monroe and a letter from author John Steinbeck to Martin Luther King Jr. The lyrics and other rare books and manuscripts are on display in San Francisco through Feb. 12. San Francisco hippies were among the first Beatles fans to hear “A Day In the Life,” which trumpeted a new psychedelic sound and features Lennon’s memorable lyrics: “I read the news today, oh boy.” George Harrison brought an early demo tape of the song to California and played it on the radio during his much-publicized visit to Haight-Ashbury in 1967 during the so-called Summer of Love. The album was a radical step for the Fab Four and is now regarded as perhaps the most important rock album ever. Gammon said Beatles manuscripts, especially those from the often-reclusive Lennon, are increasingly rare finds. Many Beatles songs were written on paper bags or scraps of paper and most were thrown away, he said. “It’s a window in time. You can imagine him (Lennon) coming up with the musical ideas that everyone now knows,” Gammon said. The value of the manuscript has increased exponentially in a little more than a decade, Gammon said. An unidentified American collector purchased the lyrics for “A Day in the Life” in 1992 for roughly $100,000 – considerably less than the likely winning bid in 2006. They originally belonged to former Beatles road manager Mal Evans. Gammon concedes it’s ironic that the lyrics will sell for such a hefty price, considering that Lennon and Yoko Ono dropped off a closet full of possessions at a Salvation Army in 1977. Beatles fans can view the lyrics at Bonhams’ San Francisco office before they move to Los Angeles and New York. Final bids on the manuscript are due March 7.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!