Julien’s Auctions of Los Angeles has staged its memorabilia sale stateside but on May 9 it is coming across the pond to The Beatles Story Museum in the city where it all began, offering items including a Yesterday And Today ‘Butcher’ album owned by John Lennon. It is planned to make this a yearly event.
The firm will also partner once again with the museum for a Beatles and Merseybeat Memorabilia Day in Liverpool the day afterwards, on May 10 from noon-8pm, when fans and collectors are invited to bring in their Beatles memorabilia to be appraised by the experts for free at The Beatles Story’s Fab4 Cafe on the Royal Albert Dock.
Test of the meat market
One of the stand-out lots is Lennon’s owned and signed album Yesterday And Today (1966), a US First State ‘Butcher’ album prototype stereo example, which Julien’s says is “considered by Beatles experts as the rarest Beatles record in the world”.
It was 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. 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 an original piece of art 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.
Julien’s says this is “believed to be the only First State ‘Butcher’ album bearing three Beatles signatures” and it is estimated at $160,000-180,000.
The ‘Butcher’ album – first released in the US and Canada - was so branded because of the cover photograph showing the Fab Four dressed in white smocks and covered with decapitated baby dolls and bits of raw meat.
The original albums were recalled after the controversy. Copies that never had a replacement cover pasted on – ‘First State’ – are highly sought after by collectors, as are stereo not mono versions. Add in the Lennon ownership and it should take it to a new level.
More Lennon lots
Another Lennon piece coming to auction for the first time is his owned and signed guitar strap (estimate: $20,000-30,000) for his 1956 Les Paul Junior guitar used at the One to One sessions at Butterfly Studios in New York and on stage during the time that the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory band backed Lennon and Yoko Ono (1971-73). Julien’s says it is the only guitar strap signed by Lennon to come to auction.
Meanwhile, other Lennon lots include detention records from his teachers at Quarry Bank High School (estimate: $3000-5000).
A Beatles signed baseball given to Mike Murphy, manager of the San Francisco Giants Clubhouse during The Beatles’ final concert in the United States at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966, is estimated at $80,000-100,000.
Music concert posters from the early days of huge bands attract high auction prices. Slightly different is a Liverpool Airport poster signed by the Fab Four (estimate: $30,000-50,000) announcing the ‘Visit of The Beatles’ on July 10, 1964, when The Beatles arrived at the airport to attend the premiere of their film A Hard Day's Night (UA, 1964), and gave a press conference at the airport's Blenheim lounge.
Previous Beatles sales at Julien’s Auctions have included Lennon’s acoustic guitar which sold for a $2.4m, Starr’s Ludwig drum kit which made $2.2m, The Ludwig Beatles Ed Sullivan Show drumhead which took $2.1m and The Beatles White Album owned by Starr that sold for $790,000.
The Beatles Story is the world’s largest permanent exhibition dedicated to the Fab Four, featuring recreations of key locations from the band’s story including The Casbah Club, The Cavern Club and Abbey Road Studios.
“We are delighted to welcome Julien’s Auctions to Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles, for their annual Beatles extravaganza,” said Martin King, manager at The Beatles Story.
McCartney's school book
Yesterday the English Literature school book of The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney has been bought at auction for £39,000.