Beatles Autographs

SI23. "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Flat Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles On Day Of Release, July 10, 1964

On July 6, 1964, the Beatles attended the Royal World Premiere of their first feature film, A Hard Day's Night, at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus. Four days later, on the afternoon of July 10th, they boarded a flight at London's Heathrow Airport for their triumphant return home to Liverpool for the Northern Premiere of the film. They arrived in late afternoon at Speke Airport to the screams of 3,000 fans. A brief press conference was held, followed by a police-escorted drive to the city centre along a route lined with an estimated 200,000 people, roughly a fourth of the entire population of Liverpool.  The motorcade arrived at the Town Hall at a little before 7pm, where 20,000 fans gathered in the streets outside. Here, they were given a civic reception hosted by The Lord Mayor, Alderman Louis Caplan, and attended by 714 city officials, friends and family members.  During the celebration, the group stepped out onto the balcony of the Hall and waved to the throngs milling in the street below.  At 9pm, they left in an Austin Princess limousine for the Odeon Cinema, where the Liverpool charity premiere showing of A Hard Day's Night took place.  At 1:30am, after the premiere, a limousine ride back to Speke Airport and another round of civic ceremonies, they took a return flight to London.

July 10th is noted not only for the Beatles' Liverpool homecoming for the ‘Northern Premiere’, but also it is the release date of their third studio album, sharing the same name as the movie - A Hard Day's Night, the first side of which contained seven songs from the film's soundtrack. If ever there was a high spot in those early days of global success, this was it. As the four most recognized faces on the planet, the boys were brimming with confidence over their recording career and the accolades they'd received for the film.  On that very morning of the album’s release, before leaving Heathrow Airport for Liverpool, they signed for their attending flight stewardesses cardboard front cover ‘flats’ of the new album. These flats (which measure 12” x 12”) were actually the factory pressed cardboard printed front covers of the A Hard Day’s Night LP, before being fully constructed into album covers…..after which a thick, heavy laminate was applied to the front cover.

The accompanying photo shows Paul McCartney preparing to board the British Eagle airlines flight for Liverpool.  The two stewardesses shown to the right of Paul are each clutching their newly-autographed A Hard Day’s Night covers. The attendant on the right far is holding the very one that is being offered here.  An enlargement of the cover seen in the photo is provided for closer inspection of the location of the signatures and the positioning of the individual letters, making for proof-positive photo identification!

Because the British albums had thick glossy laminated front covers, the Beatles found it difficult, if not impossible, to sign the fronts because the ballpoint pens of the day would not take to the glossy surface.  The vast majority of fully-signed British LPs (any title, unless it was a ‘gatefold album’) were signed on the un-laminated back cover, often on top of the liner notes — and those few that they attempted to sign on the front have signatures that are generally incomplete, due to pen skips. This flat, however, was signed on the un-laminated front cover graphics – with 20 headshots of The Beatles - making it a far more desirable and rare presentation piece.

As of this writing, there are no known A Hard Day's Night Parlophone UK LP covers signed by all four Beatles on the front, and less than ten known examples fully-signed on the back.  On this classic cover (featuring four rows of five head shots, set up as though they were frames from a movie), each Beatle has signed beautifully in black ballpoint pen on the row where his respective image appears.

Consider, too, the supreme rarity of having photographic provenance for any signed Beatles piece. Instances where visual proof of authenticity is available in the form of photographic evidence simply never happens, making the photo verification for this signed LP flat all the more astonishing. You can't ask for better provenance for a Beatles signed piece than having that piece appear in a photo with one or more of the Beatles!

Adding to the rarity of this piece is the fact that 90% of authentic Beatles autograph sets were signed in 1963 when the band members were still reasonably accessible to their fans.  Items signed once they had achieved global fame are relatively few in number because they were generally sequestered, inaccessible and unapproachable.

In excellent overall condition, the piece has been expensively framed to museum archival standards. Here is a chance to own the instantly recognizable front cover of a classic and important Beatles album, signed on the day of release and at a time when The Beatles were on top of the world, celebrating their first film  —  successful, young, exuberant, creatively prolific and with so much more to achieve…..$65,000


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SI9.  An Autograph Set Obtained During “Magical Mystery Tour” Filming, Signed On The Day The “I Am The Walrus” Video Was Shot.

On Monday, September 11, 1967, two weeks of filming commenced on The Beatles' new self-conceived movie project, "Magical Mystery Tour". Boarding a Bedford VAL Panorama coach bus in central London, The Beatles and a motley crew of passengers (which consisted of their friends and office staff, a camera crew and a handful of actors and actresses of various shapes and sizes, including a “Rubber Man”) headed west, cruising the British countryside through Hampshire, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset counties. Along the way, the coach passed through such villages and towns as Widecombe-in-the-Moor (Dartmoor), Bodmin, Newquay, Watergate Bay, Porth and Taunton, stopping at many of these locales.

The final week of primary filming (September 19-24) was done at the West Malling RAF Air Station near Maidstone, Kent. Here, most of the interior sequences were filmed (including "Aunt Jessie's Dream" and the climactic "Your Mother Should Know" staircase scene), along with exterior shoots for the "I Am The Walrus", Marathon Race and Tug-of-War sequences.

This two-week period provided scores of fans along the route with access to the group - the most anyone had seen since the waning days of 1963, just prior to their worldwide fame. Even more incredible was the improvisational nature of much of the script, which resulted in some of these fans being utilized as impromptu extras in selected sequences.

Because of The Beatles' approachability, many of the scant few authentic autograph sets from that amazing year 1967 – a year that found The Beatles at the height of their creative powers - were signed during the filming of "Magical Mystery Tour". Offered here is one such set, signed at the West Malling Air Station on three pieces of paper. All four Beatles have signed on small spiral notepad paper in vibrant blue ballpoint pen. One page has been signed jointly by Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Another has been signed by John Lennon and a third has been signed by Ringo Starr. All three pieces measure 3-1/2" x 2-1/4" (9 x 5.75 cm).

These signatures were obtained by a service wife who was living in West Malling at the time, autographed on pages taken from her shopping pad. On the reverse side of the John Lennon signed page, writing in her hand notes things she must remember to pick up. This set is accompanied by a color snapshot of her two sons with Paul McCartney at the time of the signing. John Lennon was also standing close by when the shot was taken, as you can see his right arm, recognizable due to the distinctive brown pinstripe suit he wore for several scenes in the movie. The boys were used as extras in the film and can be seen in the Marathon Race and Tug-of-War segments, which were shot on Saturday, September 23, 1967. It is on this same day that The Beatles filmed what many consider to be the apex of the “Magical Mystery Tour” film, their music video for John’s masterpiece “I Am The Walrus”. This autograph set was signed within very close proximity to the actual space where this amazing video was shot, on the very same day!

Autograph sets from this late in The Beatles’ career are quite desirable because they had all but stopped signing for fans after their breakthrough in America three and a half years earlier. In recent years, Beatles autograph sets from the year 1967 have literally dried up and seldom appear anywhere for sale. While this set has been autographed on three separate sheets, they were obtained at the same time, using the same pen, on the same lined notepaper. The set could appropriately be framed with either of 2 photos contained within the “Magical Mystery Tour” LP booklet (included with this set). The larger of the two images (12” x 24”) features The Beatles in full stride during the “I Am The Walrus” shoot.

If you are a fan of “I Am The Walrus”, the “Magical Mystery Tour” film, or if the spectacular and colorful 1967 is your favorite ‘Beatle year’ - then this is the set for you…..$12,500

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CP4.  Fully Signed "The Beatles Show" Program From September 1963

On Wednesday, September 4, 1963, The Beatles launched a four-night run of shows promoted by John Smith, a leading London concert promoter. This wasn't the first series of Beatles gigs Smith had promoted. His first booking with the group had been for a show in Oxford the previous February. He had also booked several dates in support of Brian Epstein's Mersey Beat Showcase starting in Croydon on April 25th of that year. Because several of these Showcase concerts had to be cancelled, Epstein offered Smith this September mini-tour, for which the headlining Beatles earned £250 a night. The shows, compered by Ted King, also featured supporting acts Ian Crawford, Mike Berry, The Fourmost, Rockin' Henri and Patrick Dane's Quiet Five.

The four-night package kicked off on September 4th at the Gaumont Cinema in Worcester, followed the next night by a show at the Gaumont Cinema in Taunton. On the 6th - the third night - they played the Odeon Cinema in Luton before concluding the "tour" on the 7th with
a show at Fairfield Hall in Croydon.

Smith had a special 8-page program printed for this 4-nighter and the one offered here has been signed by all four Beatles on the back cover. This autographed page features four individual Beatle portraits taken in November 1962 by the group's close friend from their Hamburg days, Astrid Kirchherr. Each Beatle has signed beautifully next to his own portrait
in dark blue ballpoint pen. Because these shows took place at a time when fans still had in-person (though increasingly more limited) access to the band, this program was likely signed after one of the four shows on the tour.

The program, which measures 7" x 9-1/2", has been folded vertically down the middle and there is some wear to the top of the front cover. There is also a very light, almost imperceptible horizontal fold on the program. None of these folds affect the cover signatures on the back cover which remain as bold as the day they were signed.

From their fledgling days as The Quarrymen in 1956-57 through the end of August 1966, it was all about touring for The Beatles. Still, Beatles-signed concert programs are very rare indeed and are seldom offered for sale. This is your opportunity to own a gorgeous, authentic example signed during the group's heyday as the most popular act in their native Britain -- just five months before they arrived in America and, in effect, conquered the world…..$22,500

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SI22. A Handwritten Letter Signed By All 4 Beatles While On The 1966 U.S. Tour

In the late fall of 1966, a charity LP called "Beatleviews-66" was released. The record contained interviews conducted with the Beatles while on their 1966 tour of North America.  The narrator of the LP was Ken Douglas, a deejay from radio station WKLO in Louisville, Kentucky. In the mid-1960s, Douglas was somewhat of an anomaly among deejays in America. He was British. As might be expected, amid all of the fan frenzy surrounding the Beatles and other British groups, this made Douglas (and his accent) very popular among listeners of WKLO. Never mind that he had long hair, vaguely resembled George Harrison and wore clothes that looked to be straight out of Carnaby Street.

The London-born Ken Douglas had migrated to the United States in 1964 on the heels of the British Invasion, having been exposed to America through his earlier career as the athletic director on a cruise ship. From New York, he traveled to Louisville to visit friends and met up with a man who had a men's clothing store that happened to be across the street from WKLO. Douglas got a job at the clothier and in 1965, through the store's proximity to the radio station, had a chance encounter with program director Mitch Michael.  Michael invited him to the station, gave him a tour, introduced him to the staff and, seeing the potential in having a Brit on the air, asked him if he'd like to sit in with one of his deejays and talk about London life, fashion and music. Douglas did the gig for about two months, and was soon offered his own show. For "The Ken Douglas Show", he would make frequent trips to London to interview all the top British stars, and before long, he was the top jock at WKLO.  By early 1966, the much in-demand Douglas had his own fan club with a devout following of over 1,400 members.

An encounter with Beatles press officer Tony Barrow led to a meeting with Brian Epstein, who told him that the next time the Beatles toured America, he'd be invited to join them. For the first half of the 1966 North American Tour, Douglas was at their side, in hotels, on the plane, on buses and backstage before the shows. His reports from the tour helped place WKLO at the top of the ratings heap in Louisville.

The Beatles found Douglas someone they could easily relate to - a fellow countryman. In Cleveland on August 14, 1966, Douglas sat down with Ringo Starr, who told him about his home life and fatherhood.  Douglas also reported on the chaotic scenes at Cleveland Stadium. Two days later, on August 16th in Philadelphia, Douglas snared Paul McCartney for a lengthy recorded chat. When Douglas brought up the diminishing crowds at Beatles concerts, McCartney was quick to remind him that the Beatles still played to more people than any other act. Douglas predicted that the Beatles would continue to sell records long after they stopped touring, which led McCartney to reveal that the group was far more interested in writing and recording than performing, citing the band's increasing inability to be heard above the screams. Of course, history has shown that, two weeks later, their touring days would indeed end. McCartney then spoke with Douglas about his life in London (having just bought a home near the EMI Studios), the Beatles' recording schedule after the tour, the trip he took to Paris with John for the latter's 21st birthday and the mayhem in Cleveland, commenting that he enjoyed "fan participation" as long as no one got hurt. Finally, referring to the negative publicity generated by Lennon's "Bigger Than Jesus" statement, McCartney told Douglas that when there was no good news to report, the papers preferred disparaging articles. The pair got on well together.

Within five days of Douglas' interview with McCartney, the Beatles' bassist had written him a letter, which was on Paul’s personal linen stationary. It read:

"Dear Ken and fellow Tea People,

Just a line to say best, yes best, of luck on this new and courageous enterprise. May she reign forever, and sail the ocean blue, yes blue.

All the best to everyone there from all of us here."

McCartney then signed his full name, followed by the other three Beatles - John Lennon (who has added "F.B.O." following his signature), Ringo Starr and finally, George Harrison, who has written “and not forgetting” before his signature, and a star-burst symbol afterwards. The “J” used by John is a ‘throwback’ to the style of “J” that was last seen in early 1963 – some 3 ½ years prior. All four of the signatures on this letter are perfect; they are excellent and complete examples, and are as nicely as they could have signed on that day. Additionally, McCartney has written “ESQUIRE” following his printed name in the letterhead.

The included, original mailing envelope is also fully-addressed in Paul’s hand on the front:

"Tea Time"
Ken Douglas
Radio WKLO
307 West Walnut St.

This envelope is postmarked from Cincinnati, Ohio on August 21, 1966, the exact mid-point of the tour. Affixed is the required 5 cent postage, in the form of a blue tinted George Washington stamp. On the reverse are the printed words "J.P. McCartney, London, England", the font being an exact match to that on the stationary – therefore making this the proper accompanying envelope!

"Tea Time" refers to the frequent tea breaks that Douglas would take on the air with students visiting the station. While the content of the letter is subject to interpretation at this point in history, the "new and courageous enterprise" that McCartney writes about could refer to Douglas' possible return to the men's haberdashery business, which had been his occupation prior to his stint at WKLO.  After leaving the station in 1969, he worked briefly at WINN and WAKY in Louisville and then moved to California where he did return to the men's clothing business, this time in a partnership with his close friend Davy Jones of the Monkees. This letter could allude to an earlier possible venture in men's apparel, which indeed would happen, but not for several years after.

Handwritten letters signed by all four members of the Beatles are exceedingly scarce, with less than a handful surfacing to date. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of known (single signed) personal letters from any member of The Beatles was written in their early days, through 1963. Anything handwritten from the mid-1960s, especially while on tour in North America, is exponentially much more scarcer.

This is by far the best of the few letters signed by all of The Beatles known to exist, making this an extremely rare opportunity for the discerning collector….. $30,000

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SA7.  "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Cover Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles For American Runaway, November 1, 1964

She's not the runaway who inspired "She's Leaving Home", but 13-year-old Elizabeth Freedman garnered her own share of international publicity when, on October 17, 1964, she slipped away at dawn from her Newton, Massachusetts home and flew to London. Before her overseas adventures were over, she would have a fortuitous meeting with the Beatles and head back to America with two fully-signed Beatles LPs.
Elizabeth's love for the Beatles and the Animals prompted her to withdraw $400 from her bank account, secure a passport, obtain a smallpox vaccination and buy a one-way ticket to London. She left a note at home, saying she was going to see a movie and instead flew off to Britain. Despite her young age, no one questioned her along the way. Once she reached her destination, she immersed herself in the local music and club scene, attending shows by Tommy Steele, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Petula Clark and Long John Baldry. Having recently attended a concert by the Animals in Boston (where she met Eric Burdon and another member), Elizabeth hoped to once again meet up with the group, which had just returned to England. It was also her intention to see the Beatles in concert, but that seemed unlikely to happen.
In the meantime, Boston police had traced Elizabeth as far as the city's Logan Airport, where it was discovered that she had flown to England. There the trail ended. Her widowed, British-born mother, Barbara Freedman, contacted the U.S. Embassy and Scotland Yard in desperation, asking for their assistance. Elizabeth's passport photo was sent from the authorities in Washington D.C. to Scotland Yard, but neither British nor American authorities were able to locate her. A glimmer of hope appeared when the Embassy soon notified Mrs. Freedman that they had traced Elizabeth to a London hotel, where she had stayed for two days after her arrival. Unfortunately, she had disappeared again.
Mrs. Freedman immediately flew to London to begin her own search, starting with the clubs and coffee bars in the West End.
Enter Beatles producer George Martin. When news of Elizabeth's plight hit the London papers, Martin made this public promise in print: “When this little girl is found I promise her I will see she meets The Beatles before she goes home”. The following day (October 30th), nearly two weeks after her disappearance, Elizabeth was located at a rooming house in the tough Brixton district in South London. The London papers had run a description of the missing girl and police had been tipped off by someone she had met in a club. Mother and daughter were immediately reunited. The pair stayed in London a few additional days and, while in England, visited the girl's grandmother, who lived in a town about 70 miles south.

George Martin’s promise was fulfilled on November 1st when Elizabeth was escorted into the Beatles' dressing room at the Astoria Theatre in Finsbury Park. A published account in the November 2nd Daily Express described the meeting. "So this is the little girl we've been reading about," Ringo quipped. "I don't think we've been to Boston," George said. Paul replied, "We have. That's where we had the tea party." The newspaper article reported that after she ate a hot dog with the Beatles, "Elizabeth saw the show, clutching two record albums the Beatles had signed." Four days later, Elizabeth and her mother returned to Boston where she was promptly grounded for a while.

It is a rare instance indeed when a Beatles signed piece comes with such ironclad provenance, but offered here is one of the two LPs that Elizabeth had autographed by the group during her backstage visit. This original British Parlophone Records mono pressing of A Hard Day's Night has been fully-signed by all four Beatles on the back cover in the same black ballpoint pen. John, Paul and Ringo have signed at the top above the liner notes and George has signed below his photo at the bottom. The signatures are large and legible. John and Paul have also added kisses ("XXX") following their signatures. The LP, which measures 12" x 12", has very light wear and discoloration on the back, but this has no bearing on the clarity of the signatures or the overall beauty of this piece which has remained solely in Elizabeth's possession for almost fifty years.

The LP is accompanied by copies of several newspaper article clippings (both British and America) chronicling Elizabeth's escapades, her mother's frantic search for her and eventually her face-to-face meeting with the boys. As a nice bonus, Elizabeth's Beatles concert ticket from the night of her meeting with them is included. Additionally, there are two black & white photos showing Elizabeth taken at the time of her amazing encounter with the Beatles in their dressing room. In one, John Lennon is seen holding the very A Hard Day’s Night album being offered here! He is pictured clutching the album in one hand and the pen The Beatles used to sign in the other. (Elizabeth recalls Lennon pointing the pen at the photographer and saying "bang, bang" as if he was shooting him.) On the same evening, Elizabeth also had all four Beatles sign a copy of the With The Beatles LP, but gave that album to a friend when she returned home.

Autographed Beatles LPs are among the rarest and most desired of all autographed Beatles pieces as they represent the music the band created. Certainly, A Hard Day's Night, the soundtrack album to their first feature film, is the LP that best exemplifies Beatlemania at its peak. In recognition of the great album that it is, Britain's Q magazine placed A Hard Day's Night at number five in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". To date, fewer than a dozen A Hard Day’s Night covers signed by all four of The Beatles have materialized, making this an exceptionally rare title.

"They were very friendly, sweet, funny and unassuming," Elizabeth writes in the Letter of Provenance that accompanies the LP. "They were not at all stuck up or arrogant. I was so dazzled by them...". The girl who ran away from home to meet the Beatles still has her memories, but now you can own the well-preserved evidence of her meeting with the four most famous rock musicians of all time. Don't miss this opportunity to acquire an investment-grade artifact with a well-documented back-story that gives it an impeccable pedigree….. $60,000

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