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    Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

    The Beatles’ original management contract with Brian Epstein was sold at Sotheby’s London today for £275,000. Signed by the band on 24 January 1962 the old piece of paper marked the beginning of the transformation of The Beatles into a band that would conquer the world.

    Manager Brian Epstein’s signature is conspicuously absent from this contract. He chose not to sign it, meaning that, whilst this contract bound Epstein to the Beatles, it did not bind The Beatles to Epstein. He explained: “It was because even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100 per cent faith in myself to help the Beatles adequately. In other words, I wanted to free the Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off.”

    A a collection of material relating to The Fab Four’s legendary performances in Hamburg sold for a combined £66,625. The city had become instrumental in the development of the British rock and roll scene by chance, thanks to a Liverpool club owner who ended up exporting English rock and roll bands to German bars. The Beatles had been going there since 1960, and performed at the Star-Club, the city’s leading rock venue managed by Horst Fascher. Two performance contracts for The Beatles at The Star-Club sold for £35,000 and £18,750 respectively. A collection of photographs and further materials relating to the Star Club sold for £11,875, many multiples of the estimate of £2,000-3,000.



    Friday, May 6th, 2016

    Three works by L.S. Lowry from the collection of the late Cilla Black will come up at Sotheby’s sale of Modern and Post-War British art in London on June 13.  Cilla rose to stardom as a singer managed by Brian Epstein, with songs written for her by close friends Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Decades on, she continued to delight millions with her unique brand of unaffected humour and charm. She was introduced by Epstein to the pleasure of buying art. The three paintings have a total estimate of £520,000-830,000.

    Her sons are quoted by Sotheby’s saying:  “Mum and dad bought art that they loved and that they could relate to, and since L.S. Lowry painted the world that our mother grew up in there was very much a personal connection to each of these particular paintings. It was Brian Epstein who first introduced them to buying art when they were able to afford to, and he introduced them to a number of artists who were prominent at the time. Dad had a good eye for seeking out great works, and mum wanted to feel a connection to the works on a personal level and Lowry was an artist they were both drawn to”.

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, Family Group, 1938 (£300,000-500,000)

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, Family Group, 1938 (£300,000-500,000)

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, The Black Church, 1964 (£120,000-180,000)

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, The Black Church, 1964 (£120,000-180,000)

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, The Spire, 1949 (£100,000-150,000)

    Laurence Stephen Lowry, The Spire, 1949 (£100,000-150,000)



    Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

    The Beatles contract.

    The Beatles contract.

    The contract that launched The Beatles, the most successful band of all time,  sold at Sotheby’s in London today for £365,000.  Signed on 1st October 1962, just days before the release of their first single ‘Love Me Do’, it bound together the Beatles with manager Brian Epstein.  This is the only management contract signed between the Beatles and Epstein after the band attained its final line-up of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.

    The story of Epstein’s relationship with the Beatles is more of a romance than a business deal. From the very first time he heard their sound, Brian Epstein was determined to be their manager. He had never managed a band before but he soon convinced them that he could do the job; he was, after all, a successful businessman, ran the best record shop in town, was smartly dressed, and, at 27, he had the wisdom of age!

    The young Beatles had long known Epstein by sight as the manager of NEMS (North End Music Stores), a treasure-trove of American 45s for the rock and roll-hungry teenagers. Epstein only became aware of the band when a fan asked him for a copy of ‘My Bonnie’, on which they featured as backing band. He soon tracked them down, and on November 9, 1961 visited the Cavern Club in Liverpool to hear them play for the very first time. He returned every day for a week.

    The Beatles agreed to take him on as their manager at a band meeting on December 10, 1961. Epstein immediately set to work putting together the look that would soon become famous around the world. More than a traditional manager, he was considered “The Fifth Beatle”. The band began to crumble after his sudden death in August 1967. As Lennon put it on hearing the news, “We loved him and he was one of us.”

    (See post on for September 5, 2015)


    Saturday, September 5th, 2015
    The contract that launched the most successful band of all time, binding together the Beatles with manager Brian Epstein, comes up at Sotheby’s London Rock & Pop sale on September 29. Signed on October 1, 1962 just days before the release of their first single ‘Love Me Do’ it is estimated at £300,000-500,000.  This is the only management contract signed between the Beatles and Epstein after the band attained its final line-up of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.
    “Without this contract, and the relationship it represents, it seems inconceivable that the Beatles could have achieved all that they did: it took more than inspired musicianship and song-writing to remake popular music. The presentation, direction, and internal harmony of the Beatles all owed a huge amount to Brian Epstein. He was, as Paul McCartney has acknowledged, the Fifth Beatle.” – Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s Specialist in Books and Manuscripts.
    Fascinating insights revealed in the terms of the contract include that Epstein would determine “on all matters concerning clothes, make-up and the presentation” of the Beatles and a clause allowing for band members to be kicked out “should two or more of them desire to remove one or more of the other Artists … with the consent in writing of the Manager”.  UPDATE: It sold for £365,000beatles contract 4beatles contract 2beatles contractbeatles 1