A suit owned by John Lennon will lead a selection of rare Beatles memorabilia at RR Auction this month, as part of the company’s Remarkable Rarities sale.
When Brian Epstein became the Beatles manager in 1962, one of his first tasks was to smarten up their image, to help them appeal to a more mainstream pop audience.
Out went their black leather jackets and in came sharp suits, custom-made by Douglas Millings, who tailored almost all of the band’s stage outfits, along with items for their personal wardrobes, from 1962 until 1966.
In 1964 the Fab Four were granted the honour of their own waxwork figures at Madame Tussauds, and Millings produced a set of collarless suits for the dummies to wear.
Lennon then gifted the museum one of his own Millings suits for use in a future display – the grey and black tweed hounds tooth two-piece suit now up for sale at RR Auction.
Offered with a letter of provenance from Madame Tussauds documenting its history, the suit is expected to sell for $65,000 – $75,000.
Another rare piece of history from the band’s early days is a set of receipts from the Star Club in Hamburg, where they honed their skills as a raw rock ‘n’ roll band playing three shows a night to rowdy crowds.
Two receipts signed by George Harrison and Pete Best date from April 13 – April 19, 1962, when the band performed during the opening week of the club, just three days after the tragic death of their former band mate Stuart Sutcliffe.
The receipt signed by Starr, who replaced Best on drums later that year, dates from December 31, 1962, the last night of The Beatles’ final Hamburg residency before they graduated to pop stars. Authenticated by noted Beatles expert Frank Caiazzo, the receipts date from a pivotal period in the Beatles story and are estimated at $20,000+.
The third notable Beatles item on offer is a set of autographs on a postcard, circa June 1964, signed by John, Paul, George and Jimmie Nicol – the drummer who briefly replaced Ringo at the start of their World Tour, as he recovered from tonsillitis and pharyngitis.
As Nicol played with the band for less than two weeks, signatures from this period are remarkably rare, and this set is expected to sell for more than $10,000.
The RR Auction remarkable Rarities sale opens for bidding on September 15 and runs until September 25.