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.

America’s Most Historic Signed Beatles Album Being Auctioned October 1

“To ‘Doc Gordon’ Thanks for the Jabs” from George Harrison 

Band-Signed “Meet the Beatles” Thanks Doctor Who
Treated Harrison Before Beatles U.S. Debut on Ed Sullivan.

George inscribed the album, “To ‘Doc Gordon’ Thanks for the Jabs … From George Harrison.” John, Paul and Ringo also signed.

Hidden away in a stack of records for 47 years, the Beatles album marking the most important event in rock and roll history is being auctioned October 1.

The “Meet the Beatles” album was signed by John, Paul, George and Ringo, with a special inscription added by George, the day before America met the Beatles on the “The Ed Sullivan Show,” February 9, 1964.

George’s inscription was a thank you to Dr. Jules Gordon, the house physician at The Plaza Hotel. Dr. Gordon treated Harrison’s 104-degree fever and raw throat that threatened to keep him from joining the Beatles for their historic Sunday American debut. George was so ill that Beatles’ manager Neil Aspinall had to stand in for him for most of Saturday’s rehearsals.

Beatles’ manager Neil Aspinall fills in for a sick George Harrison during Saturday rehearsals for the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

But Dr. Gordon’s shots and vaporizer treatments started working and George was able to join rehearsals later in the day. George’s sister, Louise, was charged with watching over him until the doctor came back Sunday to check on his recovery.

Knowing how excited his sons would be that he treated one of the Beatles, Dr. Gordon sent someone to get an album, hoping “the Boys” would sign it before he left Saturday.  The Beatles were happy to oblige, with an especially grateful George writing:

To “Doc Gordon” Thanks for the Jabs … From George Harrison.

The reverse of Dr. Gordon’s signed and inscribed “Meet the Beatles” album.

Authenticated by Frank Caiazzo, the world’s most respected Beatles autograph authenticator, it is the only personalized album known that was signed by all four Beatles while they were in New York for the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

While as many as seven “Meet the Beatles” are known to have been signed during this time, this is the only album that clearly commemorates the Beatles’ first American performance—and Dr. Gordon’s pivotal role.

Front cover of Dr. Gordon’s “Meet the Beatles” album.

Their appearance on Ed Sullivan was more than the Beatles’ American debut. It launched The British Invasion, which brought a flood of British bands to America, including the groundbreaking likes of The Rolling Stones,  The Yardbirds and The Moody Blues. These top British artists inspired American musicians, much like Elvis, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry had inspired the British Rockers in the 1950s. Their combined influences changed the sound of rock and roll music forever, making it the dominant music worldwide to this day. 

Will it Break $100,000.00 on October 1?

Letter of Authentication by Frank Caiazzo, widely recognized as the world’s top Beatles autograph authenticator.

This is only the 15th band-signed U.S. release Beatles album known to exist—and seven of them are “Meet the Beatles.” Dr. Gordon’s family consigned the album to Case Antiques for their October 1 auction, and while their estimate is $40,000 to $45,000, it could bring $100,000-plus. U.S. release Beatles albums generally sell for about $100,000 or more, and the importance of this personalized album means it will likely sell for a substantial premium—whether at the auction or later if the successful bidder offers it for sale.

Dr. Gordon’s family offered the other “Meet the Beatles” they had in Case’s Spring auction last May. That one, which Dr. Gordon had signed for one of his sons but was not inscribed or personalized, sold for $63,250 and is now being offered by the buyer at $125,000. Case is primarily an art and antique auction house, and many Beatles collectors didn’t now the album was being sold. So while it went for a good price, it didn’t bring as much as it likely would have at one of the traditional autograph auction houses.

That’s not likely to happen this time.

Auction Listing:

Lot 566: Signed Meet The Beatles Album, “Thanks for jabs”

The second of two “Meet the Beatles” albums, autographed by all four band members, from the estate of Dr. Jules Gordon and his direct heirs. Update – On 9/16/2011, Frank Caiazzo, world recognized Beatles autograph expert, inspected this album and verified its authenticity. A document of authenticity from Frank Caiazzo is included in the photographs and will be provided to the winning bidder in addition to an affidavit of authentication from the descendant. The first completely autographed “Meet the Beatles” album from the Gordon family sold in our May 22nd, 2011 auction (lot #281). This is the last remaining album from the Gordon family and is personally inscribed to Dr. Gordon by George Harrison. The inscription reads “To “Doc Gordon” thanks for the JABS from George Harrison” along with the signatures of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr. Original album and album cover. 12-1/4? H x 12-1/4? W. This signed album was given to Dr. Gordon, who treated George Harrison for a sore throat the day before the Beatles American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. Thomas Buckley noted in the New York Times on Feb. 8, 1964: “Mr. Harrison, who is known as the quiet Beatle, awoke yesterday with a sore throat. He was treated by Dr. Jules Gordon, used a vaporizer and rejoined his colleagues at the studio late in the afternoon. ‘I should be perfect for tomorrow,’ he said.” According to George Harrison’s sister, Louise Caldwell, Harrison’s health was more serious than reported. In “The Beatles Off The Record” by Keith Badman, Caldwell recalled: “The doctor said he couldn’t do the Ed Sullivan Show because he had a temperature of 104. But they pumped him with everything. He was thinking about getting a nurse to administer the medicine, every hour on the hour. Then the doctor suddenly realized that I was there and was his sister and he said to me, ‘Would you see to it? It’s probably just as well that you’re here because I don’t think there’s a single female in the city that isn’t crazy about the Beatles! You’re probably the only one who could function around him normally.’” Dr. Jules Gordon of New York City was the house doctor at the Plaza Hotel from 1942 until 1985. This album, given to one of his direct heirs in 1964, has been with the family ever since and has never before been offered for sale. Condition: Slight overall toning to cover. Wear to upper spine. Some scratching to the album itself.

For more information, go to www.caseantiques.com, email Case Antiques at info@caseantiques.com or call them at 865-558-3033.