Thursday 16 December 2021


A rare signed Beatles pay receipt from their early days performing in Germany has sold for almost £50,000.


The band did a three-month residency at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg to develop their craft between April and July 1961.

They had a five-man line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best.

The 8.25ins by 11ins sheet of paper, which is signed by all five members, reveals the band earned a total of just 35 Deutschmark per night - the equivalent of £315 today.

This was evenly split six ways between the band members and their collaborator Tony Sheridan, so they pocketed about £50 each.

But they were made to work extremely hard for the money, performing for seven hours each night, with hourly 15 minute breaks.

The receipt, which covers their pay from June 3-9, 1961, sparked a bidding war when it went under the hammer with RR Auction, of Boston, US.

It fetched £48,800 ($64,421) including fees.

In The Complete Beatles Chronicle, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn said of this formative period: "A twice-extended contract led to the Beatles staying 13 weeks at the Top Ten club, playing a staggering total of 503 hours on stage over 92 nights.

"It was little wonder then that ... their stamina and musical versatility improved dramatically as the visit wore on. When they returned to Liverpool in July they were simply untouchable."

Upon their return to Britain, Sutcliffe, who was a bassist, left the band to pursue his passion for painting.

Pete Best was replaced as drummer in 1962 by Ringo Starr who completed the Fab Four, with the band enjoying their chart breakthrough in early 1963.

An RR Auction spokesperson said: "This massively important document effectively represents the birth of the Beatles - the beginning of their journey. When they went to Hamburg, they were nothing.

"When they returned to Liverpool, they hit The Cavern Club and stood on the precipice of Beatlemania.

"It is a museum-worthy piece of enormous consequence in the history of popular music. Exceedingly rare, this is the first item signed by this version of the Beatles - with Stuart Sutcliffe - that we have ever offered."

The document was consigned by a private collector. The Beatles formed in 1960 and released their first album, Please Please Me, in March 1963, storming to the top of the UK charts.



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