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Early Beatles contract sells for over $300,000

Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

The Beatles’ first managerial contract with Brian Epstein sold at auction at Sotheby’s for $344,079.54, according to

The document, which was the first of two contracts the band ever signed with Epstein, features John Lennon’s signature, along with parental signatures for the still-under age Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best. Sale of the contract, which was dates January 24th, 1962, raised money for the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation.

According to the terms of the contract, Brian Epstein’s initial fee would be 10 percent of the group’s earnings, with a bump to 15 percent should their earnings top 120 pounds a week. Epstein had initially intended for the raise to be 20 percent, but the business-minded McCartney negotiated it down to 15 percent. The band signed a second contract with Epstein on October 1st, 1962, this time featuring Ringo Starr on the document and with Epstein eventually taking a 25 percent cut of the band’s earnings.

In 1963, Brian Epstein described what he saw on December 9th, 1961 when he first caught the Beatles’ lunchtime gig at the soon-to-be legendary Cavern Club: “The Beatles were then just four lads on that rather dimly lit stage, somewhat ill-clad and their presentation — well, it left a little to be desired, as far as I was concerned. But, amongst all that, I was immediately struck by their, their music, their beat, and their sense of humor, actually, on stage.”

Brian Epstein’s late-mother, Queenie Epstein, recalled her son introducing her and her husband Harry to the Beatles’ music through their “My Bonnie” single in which the “Fab Four” backed singer/guitarist Tony Sheridan: “He asked his father and myself to listen to a record. And he said, ‘Forget about the singer, just listen to the backing group.’ Actually, we all were fairly interested in all the records, because. . . being in the business. And he said, ‘They are four boys and I’d like to manage them. It wouldn’t take any longer than two afternoons — or two half-days of his time. It’s just a sort of a part-time occupation,’ and he said it would never interfere with business.”