See The Beatles’ First Recording Contract Before It’s Auctioned Off

August 20, 2015

The Beatles’ first recording contract was signed in Hamburg, Germany, where they tightened ship, playing concerts in the city’s nightclub district.

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The 1961 recording session produced the single “My Bonnie.” It was only released on the Polydor label in Germany and was never a “hit”. The song did led to their discovery back home and a contract with EMI the following year and their first hit, “Love Me Do.”

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Heritage Auctions will auction the six-page contract in New York on Sept. 19 for an estimated $150,000.

“Without this contract all of the pieces wouldn’t have fallen into place,” added Dean Harmeyer, Heritage’s consignment director for music memorabilia, who said the band was “a ramshackle, amateur band” when they first went to Germany.

Other highlights and their pre-sale estimates include:

— A 1962 autographed copy of “Love Me Do,” the first single recorded with Ringo. $10,000.

— A 1960 postcard Ringo sent to his grandmother from Hamburg. $4,000.

— A Swiss restaurant menu card signed by the Beatles while they were filming “HELP” in 1965. $12,000.

— A set of four psychedelic posters by Richard Avedon commissioned by the German magazine Stern in 1966. Estimate: $5,000.

The auction comes on the 55th anniversary of the Beatles’ first trip to Hamburg and 50 years after the Fab Four’s record-breaking performance at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York.

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