Auction Results

Beatles Ed Sullivan flight menu tops $100,000


George Harrison of The Beatles with George Harrison, newspaper reporter, aboard a flight to New York in February 1964.
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

A London to New York in-flight menu signed by The Beatles and their party has sold for $100,000 at auction in the United States.

It’s 1964. February 7th. And The Beatles are in the air on a flight from British pop royalty to world-conquering entertainment phenomenon.

Their arrival in the US is greeted with mass hysteria and the most famous television appearance in American music history, their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

This is the 60th anniversary of that performance, which makes it a great time to sell linked memorabilia.

This item was a Pan American Flight 101 Menu sold with 10 photos from the flight. It was signed by all four Beatles, plus manager Brian Epstein, Cynthia Lennon, newspaper journalist George Harrison Sr (who worked for the Liverpool Echo), and the flight’s captain.

The Beatles, Cynthia Lennon, Brian Epstein and others signed this historic menu.

The menu itself is quite an item, a 10″ by 12 3/4″ folder illustrated in colour.

Some of the flight photos are badly blurred. One shows record producer Phil Spector.

They capture a unique moment in history.

The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan show is the moment of their career for American fans. Countless musicians have acknowledged it as the start of the 60s pop (and then rock) revolution.

Items associated with it can make big money.

Sellers Heritage Auctions described this item as “a piece of pop culture history”, and “one of the most significant signed Beatles items in existence.”

The final selling price of $100,000 including buyer’s premium is a strong showing for Beatles signatures.

Signature date is important (they signed much more at the start of their careers) as is the document they signed.

Sadly, the market suffers badly from large numbers of forged signatures, many of which were churned out by the band’s own staff in order to avoid disappointing their army of teen fans.

This menu was only the fourth most valuable item in its sale, themed to the Beatles’ arrival in America.

The top item was John Lennon’s personal copy of The White Album, which sold for $162,500; a set of photographs from the Abbey Road album cover “zebra crossing” photoshoot made the same price; and a sealed, “first state”, copy of the Yesterday and Today album with notorious “butcher sleeve” realised $112,500.

You can make the new owner of the menu an offer, if you have $150,000 to hand.

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