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The extraordinary story of how the handwritten lyrics, music, copyright documents, photographs, letters and contracts for more than 150 songs by The Beach Boys, including their biggest hits, came to be on the open market is as fascinating as the items themselves.

The cache of documents came to light during a blind auction at a storage facility in Florida in 2000. It is not clear how they came to be there, but it is thought they were deposited in the early 1980s.

Their subsequent sale led to years of legal dispute - now happily settled, with all parties remaining silent on the details. Importantly, this means they can now be offered by The Fame Bureau with clear title as a single lot in a sealed bid auction running from April 15 to May 15.

Lucrative Catalogue

Alan Boyd, Beach Boys archivist and co-producer of the band's The Smile Sessions box set for Capitol Records, said: "When these documents were first created back in the 1960s and '70s, there was no thought that these items would some day tell an important part of the story of one of the most impressive - not to mention lucrative - catalogues in the history of popular music.

"With hindsight, historical artefacts like Brian Wilson and Mike Love's signatures on the original songwriter agreements for their 1968 classic Do It Again, for example, or the original publisher's lead sheet for Help Me, Rhonda, or even the Beach Boys' own copy of the Library of Congress copyright certificate for Good Vibrations, take on a significance that the people who generated them could scarcely have dreamed of back in the early 1960s."

Now, the Fame Bureau's chief executive, Ted Owen, who has dedicated years to bringing the sale about, will put the collection on display in New York on April 15 and then at the Hard Rock Café in London on April 18 from 11am-1pm.

He estimated that a similar archive of Beatles material would command a price of $50m-100m.