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Beatles Autographs to be Auctioned in 60th Anniversary Week of First Leicester Gig

Three sets of Beatles autographs are to be auctioned in the 60th anniversary week of the band’s first Leicester gig.

The sale is set to take place next Tuesday (April 4), at Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough.

It comes in the week of the 60th anniversary of the Fab Four’s first appearance in Leicester at De Montfort Hall on March 31, 1963.

Leicester Time: Beatles Autographs to be Auctioned in 60th Anniversary Week of First Leicester Gig
Picture: Gildings Auctioneers

The concert was the final date of a theatre tour that marked the start of Beatlemania.

One set of autographs was collected by the Market Harborough-based vendor’s father. As the Police Chief Constable’s driver, he was given the honour of driving the Fab Four back to their hotel following their concert at Newcastle City Hall on November 23 1963. The autographs, which are estimated at £600 – £1,000, are signed on both the front and back of an early publicity photograph of the band. Due to the signs of folding and wear and tear on the image consigned by this Leicestershire-based seller, these autographs are estimated at £300-£500.

The final set of signatures, offered in good condition, was given to the Northampton-based seller by her boyfriend at the time. He went to the same school as some members of the band and gave the autographs as a present to the vendor around 1964.

“We’re delighted to be offering these unique sets of Beatles autographs in the week of of the 60th anniversary of their first appearance in Leicester,” said Gildings’ memorabilia specialist Andrew Smith. 

“The three very different sets all represent a snapshot in time of how those lucky enough to be presented with the opportunity to get an autograph from The Beatles seized it, on whatever surface was available! As a result, we expect these treasured signatures of the Fab Four to attract a great deal of interest among Beatles fans and autograph and memorabilia collectors alike.”

At the beginning of 1963 The Beatles were in the Scottish Highlands, playing small venues including Dingwall Town Hall, where 19 people attended on January 4th. So, unsurprisingly, for this March tour, they were placed at the bottom of the bill of seven acts which was topped by two American singers, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe. However, by the time the tour began on March 9th, the band’s fortunes had already changed dramatically, with them riding high on the number one success of their second single ‘Please Please Me.’ Indeed, their debut album, also titled ‘Please Please Me’ and destined to spend 30 weeks at number one, was finished during the tour and released on March 22nd.

By the time the tour reached Liverpool’s Empire Theatre on March 24th, it was clear that The Beatles needed to close the show rather than open it, and the running order remained that way until the final date at De Montfort Hall on March 31st. So, although Beatlemania officially began on October 13th, 1963, when 15 million people watched their televised performance on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, the astonishing momentum of the phenomenon can be traced to the concerts that spring.

The Beatles played six songs from the Please Please Me album at De Montfort Hall: Love Me Do, Misery, A Taste of Honey, Do You Want to Know a Secret, Please Please Me and I Saw Her Standing There.

The Fab Four returned to De Montfort Hall to be welcomed by famously hysterical scenes on two more occasions; 1st December 1963 and 10th October 1964.

The auction also includes a Selcol toy Beatles guitar and a selection of rock, pop and progressive rock including Half Blood, a rare LP by a lesser known but much-admired Liverpool musician, Jimmy Campbell. There is also a selection of Bang & Olufsen home audio equipment in the sale.

To find out more about the auction, visit: gildings.co.uk