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    Friday, February 2nd, 2024
    THE BEATLES, 1966 – Images of a Woman. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

    This painting – made and signed by all four Beatles – sold for $1,744,000 at Christie’s Exceptional Sale in New York. This is one of the highest sums ever paid for a piece of Beatles memorabilia. The sale of the best in decorative and applied arts, works of historic importance and iconic objects of pop culture brought in $6.7 million with bidding from around the globe. A 1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins country gentleman hollow body electric guitar once owned by Elvis Presley sold for $302,400.


    Monday, January 22nd, 2024
    Colin Meyler of Inch, Co. Kerry will bring this oil on paper by Mary Swanzy to the National Antique Fair in Limerick next weekend.

    The National Antiques Fair at Limerick Racecourse next weekend is not set up as some sort of antidote to the Eurovision Song Contest – Ireland’s entry is due to be chosen on the Late Late next Friday evening – but it most definitely promises all kinds of everything. The way we lived, the music we listened to, the way we wore, the way we dined, and all sorts of half forgotten objects that used to accompany our everyday lives will be displayed here in abundance.

    The Purple Onion of Roscommon will bring Patti Boyd’s limited edition photo of Paul, Ringo and John

    The younger moneyed crowd, keen to add to their collections of art or carats, will  have their eye on expensive artworks by luminaries like Mary Swanzy or Kenneth Webb or set out to browse among the jewellery dealers, oldies like me will see things to bring us back…. Back to a time when the word brunch was unknown and when it was not unusual to get breakfast underway with half a grapefruit in a glass bowl along with a shaped spoon and a serrated silver knife designed to segment it, adorned perhaps with half a red cherry. If you feel a pang of nostalgia for those days then dealer Edwin Mercer has just the thing. He will bring a boxed grapefruit set, dated to 1927, with cut crystal dishes, two Sheffield silver spoons and serrated knife in a box set retailed by D. Stewart, Jewllery, Stirling.

    Edwin Mercer will bring this 1927 boxed grapefruit set

     A limited edition photo of Paul, Ringo and John by model and photographer Pattie Boyd, married sequentially both to George Harrison and Eric Clapton, will be of interest to Beatles fans. Art by Mary Swanzy does not turn up at fairs every day but dealer Conal Meyler from Inch will bring an unframed oil on paper. He deals mostly in 17th and 18th century Chinese porcelain and effects and is a relative newcomer to the fairs.  A large fair like this one is dynamic and in an era when so many antique shops have vanished a number of new dealers are emerging.  There will be more than 80 shops, dealers and galleries present and nine of them are making a first appearance.Fair organiser Robin O’Donnell of Hibernian Antique Fairs will bring a late 18th century Irish coromandel wood campaign chest.  He describes it as the best example of a military campaign chest that he has come across in 40 years in the antiques business. It is complete with carrying handles and a fully fitted bureau.With dealers from all over the country this two day fair will run from 11 am to 6 pm on January 27 and 28.  If the idea of a stroll into Aladdin’s Cave floats your boat then this promises to be a not to be missed show.

    Robin O’Donnell will bring this late 18th century Irish campaign chest in coromandel wood 


    Thursday, May 12th, 2022
    Kurt Cobain “Smells like Teen Spirit” Fender Mustang guitar. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR  $4.5 million

    Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang electric guitar, Madonna’s Material Girl dress inspired by Marilyn Monroe, the original drum kit used in the pre-Beatle group The Quarrymen and Bruce Springsteen’s handwritten lyrics for “Born to Run” are all due to come under the hammer this month. Popular culture is big business – and in our global village auction houses are cashing in on the big time. Julien’s Auctions, conveniently located in Hollywood, leads the charge. Their Music Icons sale live and online from the Hard Rock Cafe in New York on May 20, 21 and 22 offers dedicated fans of all ages a heady mix. For the information of us non specialists the Quarrymen was formed by John Lennon in Liverpool in 1956 as a skiffle rock and roll group.  Ultimately it evolved into the Beatles.  Another lot sure to attract attention from around the world is a single sheet of handwritten lyrics by Bruce Springsteen for Glory Road, later re-named Born to Run. Kurt Cobain’s legendary blue “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar will appeal to a different generation.

    Madonna’s Material Girl dress  UPDATE: THE COMPLETE ENSEMBLE SOLD FOR $287,500


    Saturday, April 11th, 2020

    The top selling item at Julien’s Auctions All Beatles sale in Hollywood on April 10 was Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to “Hey Jude”. These sold for an astounding $910,000 over an original estimate of $160,000-$180,000. A vintage Ludwig brand bass drumhead bearing The Beatles logo used at the Cow Palace Arena in San Francisco on August 19, 1964 made $200,000, four times over its original estimate of $50,000. Originally scheduled for the Hard Rock Cafe in New York the sale moved entirely online for a global audience of registered bidders. The spectacular results demonstrate that an online platform in times of lockdown works.

    (See post on for April 9, 2020)


    Thursday, April 9th, 2020

    The original stage from the first Beatles performance at Lathom Hall in Liverpool on May 14, 1960 for one night only as The Silver Beats (their original band name) comes up at Julien’s live online auction in Hollywood on April 10. The auction will take place on the 50th anniversary of the bands break up. The group, whose name became The Silver Beetles and then finally as The Beatles, would play at Lathom Hall on ten more occasions. The final performance there was on February 25, 1961, George Harrison’s 18th Birthday. Nearly 250 Beatles items featuring some never-before-seen memorabilia, guitars and instruments, autographed items, rare vinyl and collectibles will come under the hammer. Other highlights include Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for “Hey Jude”, a Spalding baseball signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr from The Beatles final U.S. concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “BAGISM” drawing, featured in the couple’s 1969 Bed in Peace documentary as part of their demonstration against the Vietnam War, a pair of vintage camel beige wide-cut corduroy trousers worn by John Lennon on the Magical Mystery Tour in the 1960s and a pen on paper caricature drawing of a three legged pirate created by John Lennon for his 1963 book, In His Own Write.

    UPDATE: Hey Jude Lyrics sold for $910,000: BAGISM drawing made $93,750.

    The Liverpool stage where The Beatles performed first ($10,000-20,000). THIS SOLD FOR $25,600


    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.



    Thursday, March 21st, 2019

    The rarest Beatles record in the world features at Julien’s Auctions music icons sale in Liverpool on May 9. John Lennon’s signed album “Yesterday And Today” (1966), a U.S. First State Butcher prototype stereo example will highlight the auction. Displayed on the wall of his Dakota apartment in New York until he had an assistant take it down and deliver it to the Record Plant where he signed it in blue ink: “To Dave from/ John Lennon/ Dec 7th 71.” it is considered the rarest Beatles record in the world.
    The recipient was Dave Morrell, a Beatles fan and bootleg collector. “The Butcher” was given in essentially a trade for a reel-to-reel tape of Morrell’s Yellow Matter Custard bootleg that Lennon desired. Lennon filled the blank back of the cover with a drawing depicting a man holding a shovel with his dog in front of a setting sun. The cover also includes autographs by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, which Morrell obtained later. This is believed to be the only First State Butcher album bearing three Beatles signatures and is estimated at $160,000-$180,000.

    The venue for the live and online sale is The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. Other top lots include a Beatles signed baseball from their final US concert and John Lennon’s signed guitar strap.

    Julien’s Auctions will partner once again with The Beatles Story to bring their Beatles and Merseybeat “Memorabilia Day” back home to Liverpool on Friday, May 10 for a Beatlemania event. Fans and collectors are invited to bring in their Beatles memorabilia to have appraised by the experts for free at The Beatles Story’s Fab4 Cafe on the Royal Albert Dock.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £180,000


    Sunday, August 7th, 2016
    The original cover from The Beatles US release Yesterday and Today in the original sealed and notoriously banned Butcher cover is the highlight of an online auction of 300 lots of vinyl records at Mealy’s through The Saleroom until August 22.  For fans this is the ultimate Beatles collectible. It was withdrawn from circulation almost immediately after the album’s release in 1966 with a destruction order. Many copies were replaced by the more acceptable Trunk Cover version. It is estimated at 3,000-5,000.
    Otherwise estimates are from just one euro up.  From Wishbone Ash to Ry Cooder, Dire Straits to U2 the collection encompasses much to bring baby boomers back in time and interest millennial collectors with specialist taste.  There are records by The Carpenters, Jose Feliciano, Genesis, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull, Christopher Cross, Madonna, Mary Coughlan, John McCormack, Val Doonican, Clannad, Na Fili, Planxty, The Bothy Band, Cat Stevens, Barry White, Blondie, Elton John and The Boomtown Rats.  Simon and Garfunkel, Bing Crosby, Kate Bush, Shirley Bassey and Rod Stewart are there as well as an array of popular music over the decades.

    The Beatles - Yesterday and Today, the Butcher cover.

    The Beatles – Yesterday and Today, the Butcher cover.

    Van Morrisson - Wavelength, 1978

    Van Morrisson – Wavelength, 1978


    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