News | November 16, 2023

Bob Dylan Handwritten Lyrics for Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door to Auction

University Archives

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan

The lyrics to Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door handwritten by Bob Dylan ca. 2009 on a leaf of The Carlyle hotel stationery are going under the hammer at University Archives with an estimate of $35,000 - $45,000.

The song was featured in the 1973 movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and enjoyed tremendous popular and commercial success. It features two short verses which comment directly on the scene in the film for which it was written, the death of a frontier lawman who refers to his wife as 'Mama'. The leaf is in fine condition and comes from Dylan's personal collection, accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity by Dylan's manager Jeff Rosen.

The lyrics appear in University Archives next sale on November 29 - Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports - which includes more than 470 lots relating to U.S. Presidents, early America, science, literature, music, religion, an sports. Highlights include:

  • a poignant letter signed by John Adams addressed to his granddaughter, Elizabeth Coombs Adams, from 1822 offering her life advice including: “Virtue and Happiness are so intimately connected…neither can exist without the other.” 
  • an autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln dated July 22, 1863, regarding two men tasked with investigating the condition of recently liberated slaves
  • a June 14, 1790 document boldly signed by George Washington with a scarce printed 'George Washington' heading, one of the earliest examples of a Washington presidential appointment, confirming the promotion of Declaration Signer William Ellery
  • a rare autograph document signed by Immanuel Kant in his capacity as Full Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg in east Prussia