So it was not a huge shock when top lot in the Tennants’ Toys, Models, Collectables & Sporting Items auction on July 21 turned out to be a poster advertising the Fab Four in concert.
Estimated at £1500-2000, it sold for a hammer price of £5500 (plus 18.5% buyer’s premium) at the saleroom in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
The poster is for a concert starring ‘The Sensational Beatles’ at the Royal Hall, Harrogate, on March 8, 1963. Billed as an event with ‘dancing for teens and twenties’, the Beatles were appearing ‘together with Harrogate’s most popular groups’: Barry Corbett and his Mustangs, and Chinchillas and the Apaches.
Tennants specialist Kegan Harrison said: “It is rare to find any Beatles concert posters, let alone one in this fine condition, as their touring career was very short with less than 1000 concerts in total - many of which pre-dated their debut LP.”
The timing of the concert is significant, and the billing ‘the recording stars of Please Please Me’. The Fab Four were performing in Harrogate just as their career was taking off.
Event promoter Derek Arnold had booked the band in December 1962, when they were yet to become a household name; their second single, Please Please Me, was not released until January 1963. The first album, also called Please Please Me, was yet to be released and full blown Beatlemania was still some months away.
Another indicator of early Beatles poster demand came on May 23, when a later 1963 example for the August 12 Llandudno Odeon concert involving the Beatles sold for a hammer price of £28,000. The Rogers Jones saleroom had estimated it at £4000-8000.
As auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said after the sale, that Welsh concert “was just as the band was about to break into superstardom – 1963 was the key year for them, propelled that summer by She Loves You [released on August 23 in the UK]”.