The first draft of the words, written on the back of a phone bill, were expected to fetch over £200,000 when they went under the hammer in London yesterday at auction house Christie’s.
A spokesperson for Christie’s, who were holding a memorabilia auction, said that they were “surprised and disappointed” that bids fell short of the starting price.
Written in blue felt pen on the reverse of a final demand from the Post Office, the first draft for ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ is briefer than the final recorded version, according to BBC News.
The document also shows deletions, alterations and variations to the words as Lennon worked out the song’s lyrics and title.
‘I’m Only Sleeping’ appeared on The Beatles 1966 album ‘Revolver’ alongside ‘Taxman’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’.
Other items in the auction included a previously unheard interview with Lennon and Yoko Ono, which sold for £18,000 to an anonymous buyer.
The interview was recorded at the pair’s ‘Bed-In For Piece’ protest in Montreal in May 1969 and according to Christie’s, the hour-long tape was never broadcast and has been locked away in a trunk ever since.
Memorabilia collectors were also able to bid for a banjo belonging to George Harrison, a catsuit once worn by Queen singer Freddie Mercury and an acoustic guitar given to Noel Gallagher by Sony Records in 1995 to mark the success of Oasis’ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’.