Photographer Mike Mitchell’s shots of the Beatles at two early US concerts in 1964 have sold for £253,200 ($360,154).
The 413 negatives were sold as a single lot (with full publishing rights) at Omega Auctions in Merseyside, UK over the weekend (March 24).
Mitchell first heard the Beatles on the radio in 1964. Soon after he witnessed their performance on the Ed Sullivan show. While he was just a teenager at the time, he was already working as a photographer for a local magazine in Washington, DC – so managed to wangle press tickets for two of the band’s dates at the Washington Coliseum and the Baltimore Civic Centre.
The Washington date was the band’s first in the US. The images were only revealed at an auction at Christie’s in 2011, when 46 prints sold for a combined total of $362,000.
Only those 46 have ever been seen, while the rest are unpublished. They offer an incredible snapshot of the Beatles as they broke America.
Despite his age, Mitchell had already developed his own distinctive style. His photographs have since become iconic, particularly the one showing the band from behind.
Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said in the run-up to the sale: “This is an incredible archive. The unique combination of perspective and light sets them apart from any other Beatles photographs of that period.”
The buyer’s outlay could pay dividends. Expect to see never before seen prints from the collection appearing at auctions from now on.