Julien’s Auctions held its Music Icons: The Beatles in Liverpool auction event at The Beatles Story on May 9th, with nearly 300 pieces of iconic Beatles memorabilia going under the hammer. John Lennon’s personal and signed Yesterday and Today album prototype from 1966 sold for £180,000 ($234,400), a record-breaking price for the edition of the album with its controversial ‘butcher’ artwork.
This was the first Julien’s auction to take place in the Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool, and at the world’s largest permanent exhibition dedicated to the Fab Four, the award-winning ‘The Beatles Story’ visitor attraction which formed the perfect backdrop for the event.
Yesterday and Today albums bearing the original controversial ‘butcher’ cover are already highly collectible and sought after by Beatles enthusiasts around the world–adding to the value of this copy was the fact that it was owned by John Lennon, and signed by him as well as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The album was displayed on the wall of John’s Dakota apartment in New York City before being signed and given to Beatles fan Dave Morrell, in a trade to obtain the reel-to-reel recording of Yellow Matter Custard that Morrell owned. The back of the cover of the album features an original artwork by Lennon of a man holding a shovel with his dog next to him.
The buyer, who has asked to remain anonymous, is a US collector and bought the record as an investment believing it will increase in value in the years to come. Darren Julien, CEO/President of Julien’s Auctions (pictured above at the auction), said: “This was a world record for a Beatles ‘Butcher’ cover and the third highest price paid for a vinyl. In 2015 Julien’s sold Ringo Starr’s White Album for $790,000 and in January of that same year an acetate copy of My Happiness, the first song Elvis Presley ever recorded sold for $300,000. This is the third highest price paid for a vinyl and the market is still developing so we anticipate in the next five years this same record could bring $500,000 plus.”
Other highlights of the sale included an interior door to John Lennon and Ringo Starr’s Tittenhurst Park home which sold for £5,760 ($7,500); a black pen on paper cartoon drawing by John Lennon depicting a man crawling out of a box sold for £12,800 ($16,700); a baseball signed by all four Beatles at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, during their final live performance sold for £57,600 ($75,000); a poster from Liverpool Airport announcing the “Visit of The Beatles” on July 10, 1964 signed by all four Beatles sold for £32,000 ($41,700); Brian Epstein’s black Samsonite briefcase used by the band’s manager during their 1966 tour of the Far East and their US tour of the same year sold for £3,520 ($4,600); an acoustic guitar with custom decoration signed by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Buddy Holly and more sold for £41,600 ($54,200); and a Paul McCartney signed Russian balalaika sold for £8,960 ($11,700).
Bidding was described as ‘frantic’ as auctioneers took bids from the attendees in the room, over the phone and online. Martin King, Manager of The Beatles Story, said: “We are thrilled to have hosted Julien’s Auctions’ first ever Liverpool auction here at The Beatles Story – where better for it than the band’s hometown? The team put together such an exciting event packed full of fascinating Beatles items and the response has been fantastic, we hope to do it again soon!”
At previous events Julien’s Auctions has broken world records with the sale of Beatles memorabilia including John Lennon’s acoustic guitar which sold for a record $2.4 million, Ringo Starr’s Ludwig drum kit which sold for a record $2.2 million, the Ludwig Beatles Ed Sullivan Show drumhead which sold for a record price of $2.1 million and The Beatles White Album owned by Ringo Starr that sold for $790,000.
The auction event was the first day of a two-day Beatles memorabilia spectacular taking place at The Beatles Story, in partnership with Julien’s Auctions. On Friday 10th May members of the public were invited to bring in their Beatles memorabilia to an annual ‘Memorabilia Day’, offering fans and collectors the opportunity to have their Beatles items appraised for free by the experts.