Saturday 25 March 2023



Three sets of Beatles autographs will be auctioned in Market Harborough almost 60 years to the day since the first ever Beatles concert in the county. In the very early days of Beatlemania the Fab Four performed their first of a handful of Leicester shows at De Montfort Hall on March 31, back in 1963.

Six decades and four days later, from 10am on Tuesday, April 4, the autographs will go on sale at Gildings Auctioneers in Great Bowden Road in Market Harborough. Gildings’ memorabilia specialist Andrew Smith said the concert was the final date of a theatre tour that marked the start of Beatlemania.

He said: "We’re delighted to be offering these unique sets of Beatles autographs in the week of the 60th anniversary of their first appearance in Leicester. 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 4. So ahead of the Leicester gig, they had been placed at the bottom of the bill of seven acts, which was topped by two American singers, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe.

But by the time they got to Leicester, the band’s fortunes had already changed dramatically, with them riding high on the number one success of their second single Please Please Me. So, unsurprisingly, they got moved to the headliner's spot for the De Montfort Hall performance. 

Their debut album, which was also called Please Please Me, was released on March 22 and went on to spend 30 weeks at number one in the album chart.
At De Montfort Hall, The Beatles played six songs from the Please Please Me album - 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, in December 1963 and October 1964.

One set of autographs in the sale was collected by a chief constable’s personal driver, who drove the Fab Four back to their hotel following a concert at Newcastle City Hall on November 23, 1963.

The autographs, which are estimated to fetch £600 to £1,000, are signed on a police charge sheet as it was the only piece of paper he had to hand at the time. The autographs were passed to the driver's son, who now lives in Market Harborough.

Another set of Beatles signatures in the sale 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 they are only expected to get about £300 to £500.

The auction on April 4 will also include a Selcol toy Beatles guitar and a rare LP by Liverpool musician Jimmy Campbell. There is also a selection of Bang & Olufsen home audio equipment in the sale.

Previous Beatles memorabilia sold by Gildings includes a rare pressing of the Please Please Me album for £2,200, two 1964 unused tickets to ‘The Beatles Show’, which made £1,100 and an autograph set which attracted bids of £3,800.


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