Monday 4 January 2016


Russ Lease of Columbia, Md., with some of his Beatles collection. The bass drumhead in the background recently sold for more than $2 million.

The very Beatles bass drumhead that was on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964 was the greatest piece in the collection of Russ Lease of Columbia, Md. He'd paid $44,000 for it in 1994, and on Nov. 7 last year, it went up for auction with an estimate of $800,000 to $1 million. It sold to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for $2,125,000. 

Russ sells reproduction Beatles clothing and collects Beatles memorabilia. The very Beatles bass drumhead that was on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 is the greatest piece in his collection.
Or was, ... Russ sold the drumhead at auction on Nov. 7.
He’d paid $44,000 for it in 1994, a shocking amount for a piece that Sotheby’s couldn’t guarantee was genuine. But with the skill and tenacity of a forensic investigator, Russ proved it was the Sullivan head.
Julien’s Auctions put an estimate of $800,000 to $1 million on the head. At that price, only the deepest pockets were in the running in the lead-up to the auction, among them Hollywood director Chris Columbus and Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.
In the end, what Russ calls the most significant Beatles artifact not owned by a Beatle or his estate went to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay . The price: $2,125,000.

Although the drumhead had been part of his life for more than 20 years, Russ said he was okay with seeing it go.“I don’t want to die with this stuff,” he said.
Still, when Ringo auctioned many of his possessions recently, Russ couldn’t resist picking up the suit the drummer wore for most of the early scenes in “A Hard Day’s Night.” At $50,000.

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