An extraordinary collection of Beatles photographs taken by teenager Mike Mitchell in 1964 are heading to auction again.
The lot, set to cross the block at Beatles specialist Omega Auctions in Merseyside on March 24, features 400 negatives. It’s set to make around £250,000 ($346,405).
All were taken at concerts at the Washington Coliseum and the Baltimore Civic Centre. Like most American teens of his generation, Mitchell was blown away when he heard the Beatles on the radio in 1964. He managed to convince a small publication called the Washington to get him a press pass so he could get backstage access to two local shows. The Washington date was actually the Beatles’ first in the US. He shot a few rolls of film and submitted them to the magazine. Then they went into a box for the next 50 years.
In 2011, 46 high quality prints from the negatives were sold at auction at Christie’s for a combined $362,000. This latest sale consists of all the negatives, including the ones used to print those 46 images, and the publishing rights to all. That’s big news as this is a particularly high quality set of images, some of which have never been seen before.
Some of those 46 prints have already become iconic, particularly the one showing the band from behind in silhouette. It was offered with a valuation of $3,000 in the 2011 sale but eventually sold for $68,500.
Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “This is an incredible archive. The unique combination of perspective and light sets them apart from any other Beatles photographs of that period.”
This set of factors seems likely to push the collection way beyond its £250,000 ($346,405) estimate. A figure closer to $1m is not inconceivable given the potential licensing opportunities.