Auction Mania for Beatle Relics
When the Beatles first came to America in 1964, an entrepreneur cut up their bedsheets into one-inch squares to sell as souvenirs. Thirty-seven years later, Beatlemania continues to rage as fans pay vast sums for anything with the slightest connection to the Fab Four. To be auctioned off on Tuesday in London: a 1929 Baldwin grand piano on which Paul McCartney played “Hey Jude,” the stage at St. Peter’s Church Hall in Woolton, Liverpool, where John Lennon first appeared with the Quarrymen, and an exit sign near the stage. “This exit sign is not just an exit sign,” auctioneer Ted Owen insisted to Reuters. “For fans, it has soaked up history. When the Cavern Club, where the Beatles famously played, was pulled down, the bricks were going for around 70 pounds apiece.” Owen owns the auction house Fleetwood Owen with Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, who also owns the auction venue, the Sticky Fingers Cafe, with former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. “But neither me nor Bill are for sale,” Fleetwood said. Only because they’re not Beatles.