Auction results from Omega auctions’ Beatles collection

Wings over Europe tour bus. Photo courtesy of Omega Auctions.

In yesterday’s auction, the most anticipated item was Wings’ tour bus from the 1972 tour of Europe. It was also the final item in the auction, and the asking price for the opening bid was a mere £10,000. The bus was estimated by the auction house to sell somewhere between £15,000 – £25,000.

After the tour, the bus eventually ended up at outside a rock cafe in Tenerife – a Spanish island off the coast of Africa – before being moved to the cafe owner’s garden. “I went to visit them about 10 years ago and saw this thing rotting away in his back garden,” current owner Justin James told BBC News. “I said, ‘I want it.'”I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just thought that it should not be rotting away on the wastelands of Tenerife. It took eight years to bring it back (to Oxfordshire) because it was in such a difficult part to get to, how it was buried in this field. We got cranes and I managed to get it back.”

Mr James hoped to use it for musical children’s tours, but that plan didn’t work out. He is now emigrating to Australia next month.

“I reckon someone could get that engine going, but I’m not that person unfortunately,” he said. Mr James said he had spent £25,000 on costs relating to the bus, and if it was to fetch more than that he will donate any profit to the Arms Around the Child charity, of which he is a trustee. As the bus didn’t attract any bids at all, the future of the bus is anyone’s guess.

A surprise hit sale at the auction was an old street sign for Abbey Road. Estimated to sell between £1,500 – £2,500, a frenzied bidding war landed it at a whooping  £6,000!

Sold for a surprising sum of £6 000.

This in contrast to some really interesting items which went unsold, like the three canisters of rare films with interviews and rarely seen footage, two of the films being from the Beatles visit with the Maharishi in Bangor, Wales, the weekend their manager was found dead in London. One of the films was estimated at £1,000 – £2,000 and also featured Mick Jagger, the other at £5,000 – £10,000.

The Beatles on stage in Bangor, Wales.

Description: Black and white film 16mm reel complete with audio featuring footage of The Beatles arriving in Bangor with the MaharIshi Mahesh Yogi during August of 1967. This footage is thought to be the only copy in existence and has not been seen since it was recorded back in 1967. The film last just over 3 minutes and begins with the Maharishi walking with The Beatles behind him whilst he receives flowers from the public. The interviewer steps in at this point and asks “What is it that you preach?” followed by “You seem to have caught the imagination of the Pop stars in this country” to which the Maharishi replies “What is this Pop Stars?” before realising and saying “You mean The Beatles!?”. He then explains how he finds The Beatles very intelligent who can use meditation to help lead the next generation forward with peace and love. The film then cuts to all four Beatles sat on stage with the interviewer asking questions such as “Do You Feel any better for it now?, In What Way? Have you tried meditation? and Can you look upon yourself as mediators now?”. The Beatles are quite taken aback when the interviewer asks “Do you take it seriously this Cult?” to which George replies “It isn’t a cult and of course we take it seriously otherwise we wouldn’t all be here”, Paul then adds “It is only you that isn’t taking it seriously – everyone else here is” to much laughter in the audience. The interviewer is clearly struggling a little at this point and his final question asks them “that it must have cost them to come hear and they must have broken at least 3 engagements to come to Bangor” to which John replies “that is nonsense as they haven’t had any engagements for the last year!” again much to the amusement of the audience. The film then cuts to the Maharishi leaving. The following day news came through that Brian Epstein had died and The Beatles had to cut short what was going to be a 10 day conference on meditation.

The third film canister contained in excellent quality a black and white film 16mm reel complete with audio featuring an interview with The Beatles at the Capitol Theatre in Cardiff on the 12th December 1965. This is thought to be the only copy of this interview in existence and it has not been seen since broadcast back in 1965. It was also estimated to sell between £5,000 – £10,000, but all the three items went unsold.

The Beatles in Cardiff, still from film.

Description from the catalogue: This incredibly amusing interview lasts just over 4 minutes with all four Beatles getting involved and having a good laugh both amongst themselves and with the interviewer. Jokes are made throughout this long interview in which the male interviewer asks an excellent mix of questions – at one point he asks them “What is your favourite number that you have recorded” and John responds by saying “Satisfaction”. When asked “Why do you still do keep performing and recording?” all four burst into a rendition of “There’s no business like show business”. They are in high spirits throughout the interview in which they discuss things such as who writes the songs and music, future films they might be working on, marriage, their children (Paul jokes that he has five children in Swansea who all want to know when he is getting married) and much more. Check out a 30 second clip here.

Some interesting items which did get sold were audio recordings like a tape containing two takes of “I’m So Tired” from 1968, authenticated by Ken Scott. Sold without copyright, this went for £500, half of its lowest estimated sales price. The same holds for a tape containing a couple of “Let It Be” session takes of “Dig a Pony” and “I’ve Got A Feeling”, but by the description we feel we have heard these on bootlegs.

A cassette recording featuring George Harrison from 1978 again went unsold.

A cassette with unheard and unreleased George-related contents, including a song he wrote.

For a complete list of the items, which also contained signed material, records, photos and other memorabilia, we advice you to have a look at the official auction site: Omega Auctions Beatles Collection.

2 Responses

  1. piper909 says:

    I'm quite surprised that the bus did not sell but a road sign did.

    Even more surprised that Apple isn't buying up these vintage, rare newsreel films for their archive!!

  2. clhop says:

    Most Beatles fans do not know that the Abbey Road street signs in the 1960's were Borough of St. Marylebone, not the City of Westminster signs that are now famous. Another Borough Abbey Road sign sold at Bonhams several years ago for over $13,000. However, a City of Westminster sign sold at Heritage about five years ago for over $16,000. So, the sale this week by Omega shouldn't really be a surprise, particularly for those who know how rare the Borough signs are.

Leave a Reply