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    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


    Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

    a signed Beatles 1964 UK tour programme at Whytes.

    A signed Beatles 1964 UK tour programme  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD.

    A 1964 signed Beatles tour programme is one of many delights at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on June 13.  It is estimated at 4,500-5,000. The sale includes Robert Freeman’s photograph of The Beatles used for the Rubber Soul album sleeve, signed by Freeman and numbered 5/75. It is estimated at 300-500. A limited edition Duran Duran concert poster has an estimate of 100-150 and is one of 65 lots of rock, pop and cinema memorabilia.

    There is a huge selection of postcards used by Peter Holder to illustration period scenes in Ireland for film productions.  The sale also features sporting treasures and much to interest collectors. It is now on view at Molesworth St. in Dublin.

    UPDATE:  The sale grossed 220,000 with 80% of lots sold. The collection of postcards made over €22,000 and a collection of coins, estimated at 15,000 to 20,000 made over 40,000 thanks to spirited bidding from British and American collectors and dealers who had specially travelled to the saleroom.

    (See post on for June 4, 2015).


    Thursday, June 4th, 2015

    FROM Croke Park to Lady Di, Irish rugby to The Beatles, Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on June 13 holds plenty of interest.  Rare Irish sporting medals, a collection of 5,000 postcards in 144 lots, three Princess Diana dolls by master maker Paul Crees, film and pop memorabilia including mementoes of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones make a wide ranging mix.  There are 531 lots on the catalogue.  The first 144 are postcards from a collection formed by Dublin based film producer and director Peter Holder.  He began it for the purpose of illustrating period scenes in Ireland for film productions.  Examples from Ancient Rome, Britain and America are among 100 lots of coins.  There are three Princess Diana dolls by Paul Crees with estimates from 1,000-2,500. Lot 368 is a medal presented to a member of Pierce O’Mahony’s club from Navan for the 1895 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship played on March 15, 1896.  It was the first final to be played in Jones’ Road, later Croke Park. The medal, together with a Leinster Football Championship 1895 medal is estimated at 5,000-7,000.  There is a collection of autographs spanning the past 70 years of Irish rugby and 65 lots of Rock, Pop and Cinema memorabilia.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE: The sale grossed €220,000, with 80% of lots sold. 400 bidders registered on line from North America, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, UAE and Qatar. Most of the lots sold in the room, which included dealers and collectors from Ireland, UK and USA.

    GAA Football. "Virtual Championship of All Ireland" 1895 and Leinster Championship 1895 gold medals (5,000-7,000).

    GAA Football. “Virtual Championship of All Ireland” 1895 and Leinster Championship 1895 gold medals (5,000-7,000).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,200

    Paul McCartney, Hofner Bass Guitar, signed  (2,000-3,000).

    Paul McCartney, Hofner Bass Guitar, signed (2,000-3,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 4,000 AT HAMMER

    Andy Warhol signed Candles Condensed Wax (With Added Wick) Soup (500-700).

    Andy Warhol signed Candles Condensed Wax (With Added Wick) Soup (500-700).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 700 AT HAMMER

    Irish Life - studies of people postcards (24) (80-120).

    Irish Life – studies of people postcards (24) (80-120).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 200 AT HAMMER

    Thunderball cinema poster. 1965 (2,000-3,000).

    Thunderball cinema poster. 1965 (2,000-3,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 2,100 AT HAMMER

    Paul Crees, HRH Diana Princess of Wales wearing silk bridal gown by Elizabeth Emanuel (2,000-2,500).

    Paul Crees, HRH Diana Princess of Wales wearing silk bridal gown by Elizabeth Emanuel (2,000-2,500).  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD