Beatles Autographs

SI11.  A Plaza Hotel Picture Postcard Fully-Signed By The Beatles On February 21, 1964 At The End Of Their First American Visit

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SI11.  A Plaza Hotel Picture Postcard Fully-Signed By The Beatles On February 21, 1964 At The End Of Their First American Visit

The Beatles' two-week-long first visit to America in February 1964 is perhaps the most significant milestone in their history. It was their breakthrough in the States that transformed the band from a nationally-known act in their native England into an international phenomenon. Images from this visit are as iconic and indelible as any in the second half of the 20th century: their live debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, their first American concert in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Hall shows and Miami, where they vacationed in the sun interspersed with the filming of 2 more Ed Sullivan appearances, which were aired later.

Fresh from their February 7th arrival at JFK airport and their first American press conference in JFK's VIP Lounge, the band was chauffeured to the historic Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, a drive that was well-documented in the Maysles Brothers' "First Visit" documentary. Once The Beatles checked into the Plaza, they retreated into the sanctity of the 12th floor Presidential Suite where they watched the evening news, relaxed and were interviewed by WINS deejay Murray The K and, by phone, BBC presenter Brian Mathew. The Plaza would be their home base for the next four evenings and the hotel's Baroque and Terrace Rooms would accommodate two additional press conferences. While the hotel has played host to scores of political figures, world leaders and entertainers in its 105-year history, The Beatles will always remain its most famous guests.

The autographed postcard presented here captures the very moment in time when John, Paul, George and Ringo first became household names in America. Measuring 5 ½” x 3 ½”, it is the only known fully-signed generic Plaza Hotel postcard. The picture side features a beautiful artist's rendering of the stately hotel at its elegant best, with several horse-drawn carriages standing at the ready. The reverse message side has been signed very boldly and clearly by all four Beatles in blue ballpoint pen. The condition of the card is excellent overall, with light soiling and a small tack hole which is barely noticeable looking at the back of the card. There is additional printing in an unknown hand of the names of the original recipients of the card. One of them, Howard, wrote years later:

"This Beatles autograph was obtained by my aunt back in 1964. She was flying back to England from New York and met them on the plane. My aunt had given this to her grandchildren (Brian and Shelly) who are my cousins. When my parents were visiting over there the following year, they gave this to them to bring back, and was given to me."

Based on this account, the postcard was signed the day they left America for England -- February 21, 1964 -- either during a layover between Pan Am flights at JFK Airport -- or on the actual return flight to London. It's more than likely that one of the Beatles' or a member of their entourage had taken some postcards as souvenirs of their visit and, upon receiving the autograph request, retrieved one of the cards and used it for signing.

Other than CBS Studio 50 (home of The Ed Sullivan Show), the Plaza Hotel is the setting most associated with their visit to New York City. You'd be hard-pressed to find another piece that better represents The Beatles' American breakthrough or their New York experience than this one. Because fan access was virtually impossible, fewer than twenty pieces signed during The Beatles' first American visit are known to exist, making ownership of this autographed postcard the privilege of having a first visit piece…..$25,000

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