Forgotten Beatles autographs – left tucked away in a filing cabinet for decades - are set to net their owner a windfall at auction.
Liz Webster forget all about the famous signatures - gained thanks to some bare-faced cheek 56 years ago. But now they’re set to go under the hammer at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers on November 19, 2019 with a guide price of £4,000-£6,000.
Grandmother Liz, 74, a retired insurance clerk who originates from Nottingham but now lives in Hampshire, said: “I found the autographs by chance at the bottom of an old filing cabinet when we moved house. They must have been there for about 30 years.”
The Fab Four - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison – penned their names in Liz’s 1963 diary at a Nottingham gig – after Liz and her friend Judy Smith barged their way into the band’s dressing room.
Luckily, they received a warm welcome and secured signatures now worth thousands. And it was all down to timing. Beatlemania had not exploded. Despite the fact that Please Please Me was flying high in the charts, the group only mustered a modest crowd at the Elizabethan Ballroom in the Co-Op Building, Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, on March 7, 1963. Liz and Judy were among them.
By December 1963, a return visit to the Midlands city saw police and ambulances on standby to handle hysterical Beatles fans.
But there was no police presence needed nine months earlier when Liz and Judy, friends working at Strawsons hairdressers in the city, went to see The Beatles in concert.
Liz recalled: “We were giggly 17-year-olds back then. It was just before The Beatles became really famous. Please Please Me was in the charts but the ballroom was half empty. There must have been about 100 people there.
“The band were so wonderful we decided to try to get their autographs. There were about a dozen girls hanging around outside their dressing room. Judy was the forceful one and she led the way as we barged our way through saying ‘excuse me, excuse me’. There was no security.
“They made us feel really welcome. I dug out my 1963 diary and they all signed it –in fact, John started signing his name and then decided there wasn’t enough room and started again. That’s why there’s a random J on the page. I think I saw Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife, in the room.”
Concert where the signatures were obtained (ticket not in sale)
George Harrison, Liz’s favourite Beatle, also wrote ‘To Liz with love from the Beatles’ across the top of the right-hand page.
The impressive set of early Beatles autographs are set to be sold at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers on November 19 and interest is expected to be strong. In October, another set of early Beatles signatures was contested to £4,200.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “These autographs have tremendous provenance thanks to Liz’s story. As time went on and The Beatles became more famous, it became impossible for fans to get so close to their musical heroes.
“Thanks to a bit of bare-faced cheek, Liz was lucky enough to meet them just before they became international superstars. It was a magical musical moment and one Liz will never forget – even if the autographs slipped to the back of her mind, and her filing cabinet.”
Liz said: “It was certainly the humble early days. The Beatles unloaded their own equipment from the back of an old van that night and took the lift up to the Elizabethan Ballroom which was at the top of the Co-op building.”
Liz Webster with her autographs and Charles Hanson.
The Beatles’ first single Love Me Do reached number 17 in the charts in 1962 while their second single Please Please Me, released in January 1963, soared to No. 2 in the Record Retailer chart, later the UK Singles Chart.
In May 1963, The Beatles performed in Nottingham again and Liz went to that gig too. By that time, they were topping the bill with Roy Orbison at the Odeon.
By December 1963 all police leave had to be cancelled and a fleet of ambulances put on standby for a return gig at Nottingham Odeon. Beatlemania had taken over the world.
The hysteria was such, a plan was devised to confuse fans. The Beatles left the Central Police station for the Odeon but decoy vans were mobilised to enable a smooth journey for the Fab Four.
The Beatles went on to become the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 800 million albums worldwide. They are also the best-selling music artists in the US. In the UK, they’ve had more number-one albums and sold more singles than any other act.
The Beatles autographs, Lot 3406, will be sold on November 19 at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS. To find out more or arrange a free music memorabilia valuation, email: [email protected]
To bid on The Beatles autographs online CLICK HERE.
To arrange a phoneline to bid, or an advance bid, please email [email protected] - quote the lot number 3406.