About Steve Cyrkin, Editor

Steve Cyrkin is the editor & publisher of Autograph, and focuses mostly on forgery, market and consumer protection issues.

Sgt Peppers Album Autographed by The Beatles Auctioning June 29 at Bonhams

A Sgt Peppers album signed by all four Beatles is being auctioned by Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on June 29, 2016. 

Band-signed Sgt Peppers albums are very rare and highly desirable. Only 7 to 9 examples are known to exist that are accepted as genuine by leading Beatles autograph experts. The last one sold for more than $179,000 at RR Auction in January 2014.

Not only do the autographs look clearly genuine, the signing history of this album is completely verifiable. In fact, I did just that.

Last week I talked to the consignor of the Sgt. Pepper’s album, Paul Minett, who got the album signed; and two of his friends who were there the June night in 1967 when John, Paul and George signed it (Ringo signed it years later): Gordon Bryce and Lizzie Bravo, one of the legendary “Apple Scruffs.”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lizzie since 2010, when she became a member of this site to join a blog we posted on authenticating signed Beatles albums:

Beatles-Signed Abbey Road Albums: What’s Real? What’s Fake?

Paul, Gordon and the album are featured in Lizzie’s amazing new book about her years seeing the Beatles in London from 1967-69, Do Rio a Abbey Road (From Rio to Abbey Road). Currently available only in Portuguese, an English version is in the works.

Paul Minett’s signed Sgt Peppers album featured in Lizzie Bravo’s new book about her days in London following the Beatles, Do Rio a Abbey Road (From Rio to Abbey Road).

John, Paul and George Sign the Sgt Pepper’s Album

I recorded my conversations with Paul, Gordon and Lizzie but these were my first attempts at recording through Skype and they’re taking a lot sound editing. The auction is next Wednesday so I didn’t want to wait any longer to tell you about the album. Here’s what Paul has to say:

“On Thursday, the first of June, 1967, my good friend Gordon and I joined half of Britain, rushing out to buy a copy of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We never dreamt that within a few weeks we would meet the Beatles and have our photographs taken with them.

Gordon and I were nineteen and on Monday evening the 19th of June, we were walking back to our homes in West London when we were stopped by two American girls, Patricia and Kathy, who wanted to know how to get to Abbey Road Studios. We were heading that way, so it seemed easier to take them there rather than give them directions. One of the best decisions we have ever made. We crossed the legendary zebra crossing and arrived at the studios.

Besides a couple of other fans, there was nobody else around. The four of us decided to stay for a while and wait for any sign that the Beatles might be there. In those days you could simply go through the gates of Abbey Road Studios and right up to the main entrance.

After a while we spotted the recognizable figure of Beatles roadie and friend, Mal Evans. Heartened by this, we stayed on and were rewarded by our first sighting of a Beatle. It was John, simply leaving one of the studios and crossing the corridor, but it was enough to make the wait worthwhile. A little while later Paul, too, crossed the corridor, giving an encouraging wave to us on the doorstep.

Two days later we were back and so were the Beatles. They were mixing rhythm tracks for “All You Need Is Love” in preparation for the “Our World” television link-up to be broadcast live four days later on Sunday 25th June. Word had clearly got round as there were far more people outside the studios that evening and the atmosphere was electric.

Gordon and I brought our copies of Sgt Pepper with us in the hope of getting them signed. We weren’t disappointed. Around ten o’clock John, Paul and George left the building, perfectly happy to sign autographs and pose for photographs. Not only did Gordon and I get our albums signed, but I managed to get several nice photographs.

Unfortunately, Ringo wasn’t in the studio that evening so his signature would have to wait.”

Ringo Signs the Sgt Pepper Album

And wait they did. It was 30 years before Paul was lucky enough to get Ringo’s autograph on his album.

“Finally, for my 50th birthday in 1997, a television producer friend of mine, who knew I had a Sgt Pepper album with John, Paul and George’s signatures, said “I’ve got a birthday present for you. Terry Oates, Managing Director of Eaton-Oates Music (Ringo’s publishers) is a good chum of mine and has offered to ask Ringo to sign your album.”

I took it into their offices near Sloane Square and sure enough, Ringo signed it.”

I spent more than two wonderful hours listening to Paul and Lizzie talk about those days and Paul’s Sgt Pepper album. Lizzie didn’t actually see Paul and Gordon get their albums signed, but she saw them at Abbey Road Studios the night they did and knew about the albums.

Two days later I enjoyed an equally fascinating 40-minute call with Paul and Gordon, talking about getting the albums signed and life as an up close Beatles fan back in the late 1960s.

The provenance of Paul’s album is rock-solid.

What about Gordon’s Sgt Pepper album, you ask? He lost track of it and most of his mementos from those days long ago, sadly. We can only hope it still exists and he or someone else will find it someday…and convince Ringo to sign it!

Go to the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album’s page at Bonhams to read more about the album and zoom-in for a close-up look. It’s lot 238.

If you don’t plan to bid on it, be sure to share it with all the Beatles collectors you know. It could be many years before another one is available.

Worthridge’s 2016 Spring Sports Auction is Open

Worthridge’s 2016 Spring Auction is underway. The Jim Fregosi Collection and the Dick Williams Collection are both featured in the auction, which includes over 500 autographed items plus unsigned sports memorabilia.

Worthridge is very careful about authenticity and most items come with JSA authentication or a letter of provenance from the estates.

Jerry Rice Signed Super Bowl XXIII Game Used Football

Highlights include a 1947 New York Yankees team-signed baseball, a Jerry Rice signed game-used Super Bowl XXIII football, an original illustration by LeRoy Neiman depicting Dick Williams and Sparky Anderson and a Muhammad Ali signed boxing glove.

LeRoy Neiman Original Illustration of Dick Williams & Sparky Anderson

Also included are a Wilt Chamberlain & Walt Frazier-signed framed 16×20 photo, a lot of 72 1994 All-Star Team-signed baseballs and multiple single-signed Sports Illustrated magazines.

Worthridge’s current  auction ends Tuesday, May 24. Register to bid here.

Lot of (72) 1994 National League All-Star Team-Signed Baseballs from the Jim Fregosi Estate

To Qualify for Extended Bidding, you must have bid on the item before May 24, 10-PM Eastern Time.

Go to Worthridge.com to view the auction.

At Auction: Beatles Signed Agreement to Sell Apple Corps Headquarters

BOSTON, MA –A rare contract concerning the terms of sale of The Beatles Apple Corp headquarters will be auctioned by Boston – Based, RR Auction.

“It’s likely one of the final Beatles documents fully signed by all four members,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

The eleven page signed document, dated November 8, 1980. Contract concerning the terms of sale, “the property known as 3 Savile Row W.1.” The document consists of four identical copies of the same agreement, each signed at the conclusion by a member of the Beatles. Bound with a clip at the left edge, with a few pages detached.
“This document was formally adopted in late November of 1980, thus making it one of the last documents signed by John Lennon during his life,” said Frank Caiazzo, a noted Beatles expert in a letter of authenticity that accompanies the sale. “John Lennon signed in black felt tip pen, and has added a facial caricature, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (who has signed as R. Starkey, his legal name as required on documents), have all signed in blue ballpoint,” added Caiazzo.
The Beatles purchased 3 Savile Row in London in June 1968. Each member of the Fab Four had his own office, and a studio was installed in the basement, where they spent much of the next year and a half recording Let It Be. In January 1969, the band ascended the stairs and would surprise the central London office and fashion district with an impromptu concert from the rooftop. In a 42-minute set, the Beatles were heard playing nine takes of five songs in what would be their final performance together.

“This document represents a major landmark in the history of popular music— with the final sale of the Beatles’ Apple Corps building, it was truly the end of an era,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. (Estimate: $80,000+)
Additional highlights include:

Beatles ‘Sgt. Peppers’ album signed by McCartney, Harrison, and Starr. (Estimate: $20,000+)
Jimi Hendrix autograph letter signed in the year of Electric Ladyland. (Estimate: $30,000+)
Eric Clapton-played replica of the ‘Fool’ 1961 Les Paul SG. (Estimate: $35,000+)
Johnny Ramone’s stage-used custom Hamer guitar. (Estimate: $40,000+)

John Lennon signed deposition concerning ‘Come Together’ and Chuck Berry plagiarism. (Estimate: $8,000+)
The Marvels of Modern Music auction from RR Auction will feature more than 500 items.  Bidding for the online auction that began on May 12 and will conclude on May 19. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

Beethoven Letter, Reagan and Magritte Archives, Rare Autograph Letters, in Profiles in History’s April 18th Auction

Beethoven Twice-Signed Autograph Letter

 

Profiles in History has a very interesting historical document auction on Monday, April 18, starting at 11 a.m. PDT. Joe Maddalena and his staff have assembled one of the finest collections of historic documents they’ve ever brought to auction. It’s an extraordinary catalog featuring 197 lots of rare and desirable, fascinating material.

The auction takes place at Profiles in History in Calabassas, Calif. on Monday at 11 a.m PDT. You can bid in person, by phone or online.

A few of their offerings:

The auction features Lincoln, Freud, John Quincy Adams, Mark Twain and other highly sought-after names. Many of the lots have notably desirable content. It’s a catalog you’ll definitely want to view if you’re an historic autograph collector.

A reminder: The auction is this Monday, April 18 at 11 a.m. PDT, so take a look at it now.

Review the catalog on Invaluable.com. You can bid online there, too.

View the printed catalog online at Profiles in History.

Register and view all your options here.

Remarkable Ronald Reagan archive of over 350 photographs (majority unpublished) and 128 letters - 92 autograph letters signed and 35 typed letters signed.

Remarkable Ronald Reagan archive of over 350 photographs (majority unpublished) and 128 letters – 92 autograph letters signed and 35 typed letters signed.

 

An important unpublished archive showcasing the intimate correspondence between René Magritte and his wife, Georgette Berger

An important unpublished archive showcasing the intimate correspondence between René Magritte and his wife, Georgette Berger.

 

You can email Profiles in History about the auction at info@profilesinhistory.com

Or call them at 310-859-7701

RR Auction Sues rrauctionlawsuit.com Owner for Defamation, 14 Other Counts

New Hampshire-based auction house RR Auction filed a lawsuit in Federal Court on Tuesday, June 2, against Michael Johnson, owner of rrauctionlawsuit.com. The complaint charges 15 counts, including business defamation, abusive litigation practices, false light invasion of privacy, interference with contractual relationships, misappropriation of RR Auction’s marks and trade name, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and cybersquatting.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Johnson resides in Bakersfield, Calif. RR Auction also has an office in Boston, Mass. The Boston Globe reported the suit on June 3: “Cybersquatting law could be tested in N.H. court case”

Johnson filed a lawsuit in California against RR Auction in 2012, claiming that RR Auction sold him forgeries and refused to honor their guarantee of authenticity. RR Auction claims that even though they believe that the autographs are genuine, they tried to refund Johnson’s money, but he would not return the autographs to them. They claim that Johnson is the first customer to file a lawsuit against them for failing to honor their guarantee in the company’s 39-year history.

RR Auction claims that Johnson registered rrauctionlawsuit.com in 2013, a domain that misappropriated RR Auction’s trade name, and began populating it with misinformation to harm their business in order to force them to settle his lawsuit against them. They say that by registering at least 13 domain names using RR Auction or the personal names of RR employees or owners in the title, Johnson has tried, and been successful, in coopting the attention of clients or potential clients. They claim he referred to his lawsuit as a class action lawsuit, but that despite soliciting 400 RR clients in California to join him in a class action, no one did and the California court wouldn’t certify a class.

Mr. Johnson also posted a scathing document online that he refers to as an “affidavit,” which he claims was written by a former employee, Karen “Kay” Burris. According to court documents, Burris was terminated in 2008 after it was discovered she embezzled what turned out to be $455,000 from RR Auction. Burris committed suicide shortly after RR Auction went to law enforcement with their discovery. The court in California excluded the document, referring to it as “hearsay,” “lack[ing] foundation,” and observing that “the content of it remains speculation.”

Preliminarily, RR Auction says that they will ask the Court shut down Mr. Johnson’s Internet domains that incorporate RR Auction’s mark and trade name and intentionally divert clients and potential clients to “this misinformation.”

Representatives at RR Auction”s law firm, Burns & Levinson LLP, released this statement:

“Rather than post websites riddled with salacious and outrageous accusations, we will let our court filings do the talking.  The law and facts are, we believe, firmly in our favor, and we are hopeful that the Court and any jury that may review this case will agree.

“When a dissatisfied former customer takes it upon himself to turn litigation into a platform to escalate a personal dispute beyond reasonable limits, highly respected companies like RR Auction are not obligated to sit back and take body blows indefinitely.  Too many people”s jobs, too many collectors” faith in the memorabilia industry, and the integrity of the judicial system are at stake.  We look forward to assisting RR Auction in this litigation.”

“We have built this company for almost 40 years with a guarantee, like no other auction house in this industry and we have ALWAYS honored that guarantee,” states RR Auction president Robert Eaton. “We hope that RR Auction’s customers, after months of hearing Mr. Johnson’s account, will pay equal attention to this litigation, and decide for themselves who they can believe: RR Auction, a trusted name in memorabilia auctions, or one man who has litigated three years over a handful of items totaling a few thousand dollars in value – items for which he was offered a full refund but refused.”

Johnson was served with the lawsuit June 3. Autograph will be covering this story on an ongoing basis as Johnson or his attorneys release their statements or file their responses.