A complete set of early Beatles autographs went under the hammer for £3,400 at a Leicestershire auction, more than tripling a pre-sale estimate of £600 – £900.
The auction at Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough on Tuesday, (April 4) coincided with the 60th anniversary of the band’s first performance at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall on March 31st, 1963. This gig was the final date of a theatre tour that saw The Fab Four move from the bottom to the top of a bill of seven acts, marking the dawn of Beatlemania.
The Market Harborough-based vendor’s father acquired the autographs for his daughter on November 23rd, 1963. As the Newcastle police chief constable’s driver, he drove The Beatles from their concert at Newcastle City Hall to their hotel in a police van, and took the opportunity to ask the band to sign the only piece of paper he had to hand – a police charge sheet for motoring offences.
“We were thrilled to achieve this fantastic result for this very special set of Beatles autographs,” said Gildings director Will Gilding.
“Our vendor, who was in the room to see them go under the hammer, was elated to see the fierce bidding from the UK and America, which proved that Beatlemania is still going strong for collectors 60 years on!”
Two more full sets of Beatles autographs also exceeded expectations on the day. A collection signed in pencil on an early publicity photograph and thought to have been obtained at one of the De Montfort Hall gigs in 1963 or 1964 fetched £1,400 against an estimate of £300 – £500, despite being heavily worn and folded.
The final collection of autographs was given to the seller around 1964 by her then-boyfriend, a Royal Engineer who went to school with some of the band members. This set, which was presented in good condition, sold for £1,600 after being estimated at £1,000 – £1,500.
“It was wonderful to see all three sets of autographs perform so well on the day,” continued Mr Gilding.
“Although it was the collection with arguably the most evocative back story that really captured the imagination of bidders, the results across the auction show that now is a great time to sell autographs and music memorabilia in general. The sale also included a programme and ticket stub from The Beatles’ October 1964 De Montfort Hall gig which sold for £210, and a collection of Rolling Stones items including a 1965 De Montfort Hall ticket stub which fetched £220.”