Memorabilia from The Beatles 1964 Australian tour for sale
June 4, 2014
It's nearly 50 years since B-Day, when The Beatles landed in Sydney to launch their 1964 Australian concert tour.
Their arrival on June 11 sparked the phenomenon known as Beatlemania, which peaked when the group flew to Adelaide the next day. An estimated 300,000 people lined the highway from the airport to the Town Hall, around one third of the total population of Adelaide if that estimate is accurate.
Photos suggest that it is.
The Adelaide crowd is usually quoted as the largest attracted by The Beatles in any one location.
This period has been celebrated by The Beatles in Australia Exhibition, which began in September 2013 at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. It’s now on at the Arts Centre Melbourne until July.
Beatlemania is also being revived in a sale of Beatles collectables by Leonard Joel in Melbourne tomorrow, starting at midday. Items can be previewed in South Yarra today, from 9am to 8pm, or viewed online.
Perhaps the highlight of The Beatles section is a unique collection of professional photographs taken in Adelaide in 1964. Around 50 in total, these are being sold as individual lots which include the original negative, a digital print numbered 1 of 1, and transfer of copyright. This enables the buyer to onsell images if they so desire.
The vendor bought the negatives in London some years ago, along with the copyright.
Turn right: Ticket to the band's Melbourne concert on June 15, 1964. Photo: Supplied
Most images are previously unpublished. Estimates are $600 to $800 per image.
Images show The Beatles in concert and off stage, plus crowd scenes.
In Adelaide session musician Jimmie Nicol replaced Ringo Starr, delayed because of laryngitis.
The copyright component could be a potential investment. Fees charged to publish photographic images depend on usage, prominence and the nature of the published media. Advertising is the most lucrative avenue. A typical fee for one-off reproduction in a book or magazine is $100 to $200 per image. The State Library of South Australia holds a copyright collection of Beatles photos, available at around this price.
Prices for memorabilia connected with The Beatles' 1964 Australian tour have been steadily rising over the past decade.
In December 2012 Leonard Joel sold a souvenir booklet autographed by all four Beatles for $9760 (including buyers premium).
Signatures add greatly to value but only if they can be verified as authentic. About 90 per cent were signed on their behalf by road manager Neil Aspinall. Experts can easily spot the difference. At Thursday’s auction a tour programme is offered with Aspinall signatures plus a ticket to the June 15 concert at Festival Hall in Melbourne. Sold as one lot, these are given estimates of $400 to $600 in total. You could add another zero if they were signed by The Beatles themselves.
This explains why a scrap of paper which really was signed by John, Paul, George and Ringo (who arrived in time for the Melbourne concerts) is estimated at $2000 to $4000. It was sourced from an Australian security guard who worked on the tour.
Letter be: A scrap of paper signed by John, Paul, George and Ringo sourced from an Australian security guard who worked on the tour. Photo: Unknown
Giles Moon is Leonard Joel’s resident Beatlemanaic – despite not being born until after the group disbanded – who says that the Sydney and Melbourne exhibitions have convinced several collectors that now is the right time to sell. Surprising numbers of original fans have kept their teenage memorabilia for 50 years. Now, at around retirement age, they realise that it could have more than sentimental value.
Merchandising sold during the Australian tour included Beatles curtains, wallpaper, belts, handkerchiefs, tea towels, talc, combs and crockery. Toy guitars, imitations of the ones Paul, John and George used on stage, are among the most valuable. A set of three in mint condition has sold for $1000.
A new generation of memorabilia collectors, those inspired more by The Big Bang Theory than The Beatles, will also be attracted by tomorrow’s Leonard Joel sale. To be sold on behalf of the Fight Cancer Foundation charity is the battlesuit worn by Halle Berry in the 2000 movie X-Men, plus a more recent Wolverine leather fight costume donated by Hugh Jackman. This costume includes a very desirable pair of claws.
Details and estimates on the Leonard Joel website.