Auction News

Lennon’s White Album could be yours


Interior gatefold sleeve of the Beatles "White Album" from 1968. Copy 0000006
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

White Album number 0000006, John Lennon’s first copy of 1968 eponymous The Beatles album, is up for auction this month. The starting price at the online auction, which closes on Saturday, February 24, is $50,000.

The sale, by Heritage Auctions of Dallas, is being held to mark the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles in the USA.

This is one of the star items.

The Beatles was released on November 22, 1968. The album’s stark white cover led to its immediate christening as The White Album.

The plain cover led to the album’s nickname. The number is clearly visible in the bottom right-hand corner.

The first run of copies were individually numbered, and early numbers can be valuable. A number 23 sold for around $13,000 in 2012. A number 4 for $15,000 in 2015.

Now, the bidding for number 6 starts at over 3 times that amount.

The first numbered copies were kept by the Beatles, their staff, friends and family.

This copy was given by John Lennon to his chauffeur, Les Anthony, with whom he became quite close.

Mr Anthony gave it to a relative. They saw a TV programme about rare records and dug up the copy, selling it to a well-known music collector.

Another 0000006 was owned by Neil Aspinal, the Beatles road-manager, turned close personal ally and Apple chief. That’s the mono version, from a period when albums were released in both mono and stereo. Mr Anthony’s copy was stereo.

Lennon was photographed with this numbered copy.

It is excellent condition and comes with all the inserts that accompanied its 1968 release.

Perhaps the most comparable sale is the 2015 auction of Ringo Starr’s mono copy, numbered 0000001, that made £627,000.

Among the other items on sale a copy of the Beatles notorious “butcher sleeve” Yesterday and Today LP is currently commanding $6,000.

That album, a US-only release, was withdrawn when retailers saw the cover – an image of the Beatles apparently dismembering dolls.

It is being sold in its original rapper and with the letter withdrawing it from general sale.

You can bid now on these items until Saturday, February 24.

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