This is the second article in an occasional series on collecting.
In just two short weeks, the Beatles’ first contract goes to auction in London. This historic piece of Beatles memorabilia is sure to attract bidders from around the globe, as well as the obligatory press feeding frenzy. The announcement stated that The Fame Bureau, the London-based company sponsoring the auction at London's Idea Generation Gallery, was anticipating bids in the £250,000 range, but my money says it will pull in at least double that amount. This is no ordinary collectible, by far; it’s absolutely unique. It is the one and only copy of this document. There is no other, and there can never be another.
The sale is called "It’s More Than Rock and Roll," and it’s being held on Thursday, 4 September 2008. The contract is not the only Beatlemania collectible to go under the hammer on that day. Other items to be auctioned include:
• The Trident Studio’s Bechstein Grand Piano, which was used to record the Beatles hit “Hey Jude” and David Bowie’s albums Space Oddity, Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust. Queen, Elton John, Supertramp, Carly Simon, and Harry Nilsson all used this very same piano to compose and record.
• John Lennon’s Hand Carved "Sexy Sadie" Lyrics. These lyrics are monumental in Beatles history, since the song was written about the Maharishi’s alleged attempt to rape Mia Farrow. Once the attempt was discovered by the Beatles, the group, and especially John Lennon, were irate. Some of the lyrics and the Maharishi’s name later had to be excised for legal reasons.
• Tom Mix Standup from Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover
The contract was signed by the Fab Four on 24 January 1962, but their manager, Brian Epstein, refused to sign it for more than six months, until he could fulfill a promise for a recording contract with EMI. The contract is signed by all four Beatles, Epstein, and the fathers of George Harrison and Paul McCartney (the two were under 21 at the time).
Additionally, and expected to pull in the highest figure of all, the auction will include the very first guitar that Jimi Hendrix set fire to onstage, a 1965 Fender Stratocaster. The instrument is expected to command £500,000 before the final hammer falls.