Beatles autographs smudged by John Lennon’s greasy fingers after fish and chips sell for nearly £8k
A set of Beatles autographs wiped off John Lennon’s greasy fingers after eating a fish and chips has sold for nearly £8,000.
The seller, who has not been named, was just 14 when she gathered the courage to ask the Fab Four for their autographs as they ate a chippy lunch at a TV studio in Birmingham.
She collected the iconic autographs of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison while they were having lunch in the cafeteria in 1963.
McCartney grabbed the autograph book first and before signing his name, he affectionately wrote “Love from The Beatles.”
Meanwhile, when John Lennon signed, he smeared the name of his bandmate George Harrison with chip grease.
The 59-year-old book, also signed by the group’s manager, Brian Epstein, is set to fetch between £4,000 and £4,500 at Hansons Auctioneers on Wednesday afternoon.
But a triple international bidding war saw the price skyrocket before the hammer came down to the winning bid of £7,760.
The retired teacher, 73, said: ‘It was an excellent, exceptional auction result. I’m delighted – excited. And I have a special thank you. It’s for Paul, Ringo, George and John.”
The seller, who has not been named, was just 14 when she gathered the courage to ask the Fab Four for their autographs as they ate a chippy lunch at a TV studio in Birmingham. She collected the iconic autographs of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison as they sat in the cafeteria having their lunch in 1963
The Beatles (pictured) were filming a pre-recorded performance on June 23, 1963, at the ABC Weekend Television Studios in Aston, Birmingham.
The seller revealed she was “nervous” to approach the band, who were in town to pre-record a TV performance, but remembers “absolutely everything” about the incredible moment.
She added: “I was really, really lucky – and privileged – to get those autographs that day.
‘I do remember all about it. It was a beautiful summer day 59 years ago.
“I was only 14 at the time. My friend’s mother worked in the design department at ABC Weekend Television Studios in Aston, Birmingham, and the Beatles were filming there on June 23, 1963.
“They were in town to record a performance for the Thank Your Lucky Stars TV show, which aired on June 29, 1963.”
She recalled: “My friend’s mother arranged for us to go backstage. We walked into the cafeteria and there they were – The Beatles.
“It was pretty quiet. Nobody bothered them. I suppose people were told to leave them alone.
“They lined up at the food counter and they all went for fish and chips. We were very nervous, but managed to muster the courage to approach them.
“I went to Paul McCartney first and wished him a happy birthday. His birthday is on June 18, a few days earlier.
McCartney grabbed the autograph book first and before signing his name, he affectionately wrote ‘Love from The Beatles’
“He first signed my autograph book, wrote ‘love from The Beatles’ and gave it around the table.
“John was the last to sign. They had picked up chips with their fingers and I remember him licking his lips and rubbing his fingers over his pants to try and get the grease off before signing.
“He still has a greasy smudge on George Harrison’s name. It was one of those old spotty Biros. I assume the inkblot contains John Lennon’s DNA.”
She recalled how the band was incredibly “nice” and chatted with the pair as fans shouted outside the window.
The salesman said, ‘They were all so nice to us, chatty and nice. It was very early for The Beatles, so maybe the novelty of autograph signing hadn’t worn off yet.
“We heard crowds of screaming girls outside the cafeteria window, hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
Meanwhile, when John Lennon signed, he smeared the name of his bandmate George Harrison with chip grease
“We saw the band perform before the show and you couldn’t hear the music because there was so much screaming going on in the audience.
“On the same day, we ran into Brian Epstein walking down a flight of stairs. He was overjoyed to give us his signature – really delicious.
“I’ve cherished the autographs for decades and kept them carefully in polyethylene, usually on a bookshelf. They often moved with me.
“I only sold them because my friend, whose mother took us backstage that day, lost her set of Beatles autographs that she got at the same time.
“I plan to share the proceeds with her. It just seems fair. Without her mother I would never have them.
“It’s time for someone else to enjoy and cherish them.”
The autograph book had a triple international bidding war, saw the price like a rocket before the hammer came down on the winning bid of £7,760
Claire Howell, music memorabilia consultant at Hansons Auctioneers, said: “There was a lot of interest in these autographs because the fight-and-chip story and provenance were so fantastic.
“A telephone bidder and people competing on two different online bidding platforms competed for the lot.
“It’s a beautiful piece of music memorabilia and I’m happy to see it get the award it deserved for our client.”