The Beatles’ contract with Brian Epstein sells for £365,000

The management contract signed by The Beatles and Brian Epstein has sold at auction in London for £365,000 ($553,121).

It is the only contract signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and their manager, and replaced one which featured the group’s previous drummer Pete Best.

The document had been expected to fetch up to £500,000 at the Sotheby’s sale of music memorabilia. It was previously sold at auction in 2008 for £240,000.

The Beatles and Epstein signed the contract on 1 October 1962 at Epstein’s office at NEMS in Whitechapel, Liverpool, shortly before the release of their first single ‘Love Me Do’ on 5 October. The signing was witnessed by Epstein’s secretary Beryl Adams.

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

The auction also included a single page of a detention book from QUarry Bank High School in Allerton, Liverpool, which noted 29 occasions in which John Lennon received detention. The sheet of paper sold for £2,500.

Other lots included a grand piano used by Abba, which failed to sell, and a blue Fender Stratocaster played by Eric Clapton.

Last updated: 2 October 2015
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