The Beatles: Rare album once owned by John Lennon to be auctioned

A Beatles album once owned by John Lennon - and believed to be one of the rarest in the band's history - is up for auction.

The so-called "butcher" cover of Yesterday And Today caused controversy when it was released in the US back in 1966.

It shows the Fab Four smiling, dressed in white coats and covered in pieces of raw meat and decapitated baby dolls.

The cover, believed to be The Beatles' protest against the Vietnam War, was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with more public-friendly artwork.

It is estimated that Lennon's personal copy of the record will sell for £136,000 when it goes under the hammer at Julien's Auctions annual event - Music Icons: The Beatles In Liverpool.

Lennon kept the record on the wall of his apartment in New York and later gave it to Beatles fan Dave Morrell, with the star writing: "To Dave, from John Lennon, Dec 7th 1971."

He also scrawled a sketch on the back, showing a man holding a shovel with his dog in front of a setting sun.

Mr Morrell later obtained autographs from Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, and the record is believed to be the only original that bears three Beatles signatures.

Gary Hein, a Beatles expert, said: "There is no Beatles album in the world that compares with this one in terms of both rarity and value.

"This important world-class pop culture piece would add significantly to any Beatles collector, art, pop culture or record collector's collection."

Other items being auctioned include a guitar strap from a 1956 Les Paul Junior guitar that was owned and signed by Lennon - and used at the One to One Sessions at Butterfly Studios in New York. That has a guide price of between £15,000 and £23,000.

Lennon's detention record from his teachers at what was then known as Quarry Bank High School has an estimate of between £2,200 and £3,800.

A baseball signed by The Beatles during their final US concert in August 1966 has an estimate of between £60,000 and £75,000.

Darren Julien, president and chief executive of Julien's Auctions said: "Julien's Auctions is honoured to have been a part of Beatlemania history with our record-breaking sales of some of the Fab Four's most important and newly discovered memorabilia to come to auction."

"Each year we look forward to setting the bar even higher by putting together another spectacular auction event that celebrates the brilliance and artistry of rock and roll's greatest and most iconic band."

The auction will take place online and live at The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool on the 9 May.