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Ticket to Ride: Beatlemania and the Enduring Appeal of Pop Culture

By August 4, 2022News

Beatlemania remains alive and well more than 60 years since the band formed. The strength of The Beatles’ ongoing following was demonstrated in our recent Decorative Arts June Live sale, which saw feverish interest in band memorabilia. Five significant lots went under the hammer, selling for a combined total of over $30,000.

Among the fascinating mementos were signed photographs, an Old England watch, and individual expense claims for each member of The Beatles during their time on tour. The financial documents achieved the price of $7,170, while the signed photographs soared above their estimates, achieving $6,453 each.

The vendor of these unique collectibles initially got in touch requesting an appraisal for some household items, and only mentioned a collection of Beatles–related material as an afterthought. This piqued the interest of our specialist team, who requested further details. On closer inspection, this humble collection carried more value than mere sentimentality. Having worked as the secretary to the financial controller of The Beatles company, Apple Corps., the vendor had exclusive insight into the day–to–day of the ‘Fab Four’. When she returned to live in New Zealand, she brought these keepsakes with her. Director of Decorative Arts, Ben Erren, says it was an exciting moment breaking the news to her. “I was able to ring her up and tell her that these things she assumed nobody would be interested in were actually worth tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.

After the success of the Beatles’ financial documents and signed photographs in our Decorative Arts June Live sale, we are seeing increased demand for pop culture memorabilia. Signed items with fantastic provenance, such as these are exactly what the market is after, and we have seen a swell of appraisal requests coming through.

Consignments are open for our upcoming live auction, POP! Culture & Design. Celebrating all things nostalgic, we are seeking quality pieces that reflect the expansive nature of this unique sale category. Early consignments for this sale include a mounted and framed guitar signed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as early LPs signed by all four members of The Beatles.

Consignments for POP! Culture & Design close on 12 August. If you have pieces relating to music, film, sport, toys, art, or other collectibles that you are interested in bringing to market, please contact our specialist team for a complimentary appraisal.

Prices Realised

The Beatles: A Rare and Important Collection of Financial Documents
Price Realised incl. BP $7,170
Est $8,000 – $12,000

A Signed Photo of the Beatles (pictured above)
Price Realised incl. BP $6,453
Est $3,000 – $6,000

John Lennon In His Own Write – Signed by the Beatles
Price Realised incl. BP $7,528.50
Est $5,000 – $10,000

A Rare Beatles Old England Watch
Price Realised incl. BP $1,314.50
Est $400 – $800

A Signed Fan Photo of the Beatles
Price Realised incl. BP $6,453
Est $3,000 – $6,000

Ben Erren
Director of Decorative Arts
ben@webbs.co.nz
+64 21 191 9660

Leah Morris
Specialist, Decorative Arts
leah@webbs.co.nz
+64 22 574 5699

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