Results are in from the “Gotta Have Rock and Roll” auction which ended yesterday, and we were surprised when a fully signed “Abbey Road” album failed to reach the estimated $150,000 – $200,000. In their May auction, Gotta Have Rock and Roll estimated another fully signed “Abbey Road” album at just $50,000 – $75,000. Since it eventually sold for $221,000 after 26 bids, we don’t blame the auction house for expecting similar figures this time. However, this time the minimum bid was set to just $30,000 and attracted only four bids, ending at $48,000.
We don’t know the provenance of these two signed Abbey Roads, but both were authenticated by autograph expert Frank Caiazzo. Two well known signed copies of the album were from Cathy Sarver and the late Lizzy Bravo, both girls used to hang around the studios as well as the Apple HQ in Savile Row at the time and met the Beatles often. Here’s an article from 2010 about signed Abbey Road albums.
A similar item was a fully signed USA pressing of “The Beatles”, aka “The White Album”. Signed in the seventies by the individual ex-Beatles, the album was estimated to sell for $150,000 – $200,000 with bids starting at $66,000. Attracting 3 bids, the album went for $76,000.
Failing to sell was an original recording console used by both The Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road Studios, it was estimated at $250,000 – $300,000 with minimum bids starting at $200,000 – it attracted no bidders. Among other unsold items (either not getting bids or failing to reach minimum price) was a signed guitar used by George Harrison on “Got My Mind Set On You”, a Traveling Wilburys Signed Publishing Contract, a 1977 Beatles Settlement Agreement Ending Relationship with Allen Klein (ABKCO) signed by John Lennon, a promo “Yesterday and Today” (Butcher Cover) First State Mono LP and George Harrison’s handwritten music shopping list.
One “butcher” which did sell, was a copy from radio station WNEU, which went for $500. Some gold records from RIAA were sold for between $3,000 and $5,500: John Lennon’s “Imagine” and The Beatles’ “Help!” and “Revolver” albums, plus the “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” single. Lennon’s gold record presented for “Mind Games” failed to reach the $3,000 minimum bid price, as did a platinum award for “Double Fantasy”, which only had a minimum bid price at $600.
One item which made headline news in mainstream media was a John Lennon signed and hand-annotated 1971 scathing letter to Paul McCartney, which was published in Melody Maker at the time. With bids starting at $20,000 the letter fetched $56,000, which was more that the estimated $30,000 – $40,000 expected by the auction house.
Another interesting item from the auction was the thought to be earliest Beatles autographs by John, Paul, George and Ringo from March 1962, obtained by Margaret Reid on a night when Ringo was substituting for Pete Best. Ringo didn’t join the band on a regular basis for another five months. The item has been restored, and sold for $14,500.