High Numbers concert poster – £1800 at Chippenham Auctions.

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And they would have been right.

The line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, who started out as the Detours, only became The Who before a second change of name. In a bid for the Mod market and a vogue for wearing T-shirts with number designs, in July 1964 they became The High Numbers.

Their regular gigs at The Railway Hotel in Harrow and Wealdstone are recalled by band devotees as the place where Townshend first cracked his guitar neck on the low ceiling, the origin of his guitar-destroying feature of live performances.

But there was little in the way of commercial success – the 3s 6d admission fee would have bought a couple of pints of bitter, and a record the band cut flopped.

Five months later The High Numbers became The Who and went on to lasting worldwide fame.

Rare survivor

The extreme rarity of the poster offered at Chippenham Auction Rooms (20% buyer’s premium) on June 6 was enhanced by the knowledge that the vendor had acquired it from drummer Moon’s cousin and later succeeded in having it signed by Daltrey. At the time he apparently exclaimed: “Where the **** did you find this?”

Complete with an affidavit as to this provenance, the poster sold to a collector at £1800, a little above mid-estimate.

The band outlived The Railway Hotel. Derelict by the Nineties, the pub was demolished in 2002 and blocks of flats now occupy the site. One is named Moon House, another Daltrey House.