A unique piece of Beatles memorabilia will go on sale with the original printing plates for John Lennon's first book set to go under the hammer.

The metal plates were used to print words and illustrations by the Beatle in the 1964 book John Lennon, In His Own Write.

The lot to go on sale includes 35 of the 40 printing plates used to produce the book, which was the first solo project by any of The Beatles.

Featuring a photo of John Lennon taken by Robert Freeman, the book included an introduction by Paul McCartney detailing how the band first got together in Liverpool and contained Lennon's short stories, poems and line drawings, often surreal, whimsical and nonsensical with the Beatle using free association and improvisation.

The book was also transformed into a play, co-authored with Victor Spinetti, who directed, at the National Theatre.

The publication became an immediate success and has been reprinted many times but first-run copies are rare.

Auctioneer Karen Fairweather said such printing plates have never come on the market before - and are unlikely to ever again.

And the auction house is expecting international bidders due to the massive interest in The Beatles and John Lennon in particular.

Ms Fairweather said: "We have done research and we have not found anything like this to come up for sale before, we have not come across any printing plates.

"I think particularly because of the tragic nature of John Lennon's death at such an early age and his talent, there seems to be a huge interest in his work."

The printing plates, being put up for auction by an anonymous seller from London, are estimated to sell for between £3,000 and £5,000 and will go on sale at Omega Auctions in Stockport, Cheshire, on May 19. The auction will also be broadcast live on Omega Auctions website.