Signed concert programs for live performances by The Beatles were often sold at the venues. They contained photographs and a bio page of the group along with other acts who were also on the bill. They sometimes also included advertising by local merchants. Before the band's popularity rose to dizzying heights, The Beatles would actually stay behind after a show and sign for fans, who were mostly female.
Without question, female fans were the major purchasers for concert memorabilia. It made perfect sense that the majority of the items being signed were the show programs (or programmes, the proper British spelling). Many of these programs unsigned are worth quite a bit of money to collectors, particularly those for 3, 2 or even 1 performance in a given city. For example, on March 8, 1963, The Beatles played at The Royal Hall in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. For this one day only show, a program was printed which is worth approximately $1000. in mint condition unsigned.
About 10 of these have turned up which have been fully signed by all of The Beatles. As with the majority of signed material, most programs were signed by The Beatles in 1963, their most fertile signing year because they were far more publicly accessible throughout the first three quarters of the year. The generic American programs for their U.S. tours were printed by Raydell Publishing in New York City and were available at shows across North America.
Although more common unsigned than most other programs from around the world, they are among the scarcest to find signed. In fact. very few autographed examples of these have turned up at all because they simply did not sign that many US tour programs due to extremely heightened security. Signed tour programs are quite special as they represent an historic collectible from a specific and in most cases very direct encounter with The Beatles. Indeed, the magic of a live performance by the world's greatest band combined with the intimate experience of acquiring their autographs was the ultimate Fab Four dream.
CP4. Fully Signed "The Beatles Show" Program From September 1963
On Wednesday, September 4, 1963, The Beatles launched a four-night run of shows
promoted by John Smith, a leading London concert promoter. This wasn't the first
series of Beatles gigs Smith had promoted. His first booking with the group had
been for a show in Oxford the previous February. He had also booked several
dates in support of Brian Epstein's Mersey Beat Showcase starting in Croydon on
April 25th of that year. Because several of these Showcase concerts had to be
cancelled, Epstein offered Smith this September mini-tour, for which the
headlining Beatles earned £250 a night. The shows, compered by Ted King, also
featured supporting acts Ian Crawford, Mike Berry, The Fourmost, Rockin' Henri
and Patrick Dane's Quiet Five.
The four-night package kicked off on September 4th at the Gaumont Cinema in
Worcester, followed the next night by a show at the Gaumont Cinema in Taunton.
On the 6th - the third night - they played the Odeon Cinema in Luton before
concluding the "tour" on the 7th with
a show at Fairfield Hall in Croydon.
Smith had a special 8-page program printed for this 4-nighter and the one
offered here has been signed by all four Beatles on the back cover. This
autographed page features four individual Beatle portraits taken in November
1962 by the group's close friend from their Hamburg days, Astrid Kirchherr. Each
Beatle has signed beautifully next to his own portrait
in dark blue ballpoint pen. Because these shows took place at a time when fans
still had in-person (though increasingly more limited) access to the band, this
program was likely signed after one of the four shows on the tour.
The program, which measures 7" x 9-1/2", has been folded vertically down the
middle and there is some wear to the top of the front cover. There is also a
very light, almost imperceptible horizontal fold on the program. None of these
folds affect the cover signatures on the back cover which remain as bold as the
day they were signed.
From their fledgling days as The Quarrymen in 1956-57 through the end of August
1966, it was all about touring for The Beatles. Still, Beatles-signed concert
programs are very rare indeed and are seldom offered for sale. This is your
opportunity to own a gorgeous, authentic example signed during the group's
heyday as the most popular act in their native Britain -- just five months
before they arrived in America and, in effect, conquered the world…..$22,500
(click images to view larger)
CP2. A “Beatles (USA) Ltd” 1964 U.S. Tour Program Signed By The Beatles
Seven months after their first historic visit to America, The Beatles made a return visit in September of 1964 and embarked upon their first full-fledged tour of the United States. They played 32 shows in 24 cities between August 19 and September 20. Among these was the fabled show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Here is a program from that first North American tour which has been signed beautifully by The Beatles on the first right-hand inside page.
Each member has signed in dark blue ballpoint pen directly above his respective image. The signatures were originally obtained by Mr. Raymond Lussa, the owner of the New York based company Souvenir Publishing, which published Beatles promotional materials and fan magazines, as well as this program. Lussa had The Beatles sign this program for him. He then gave it to a 10- year-old girl named Vicky, the daughter of his next-door neighbor. It was signed while The Beatles were in New York to play two consecutive days at The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium (August 28th and 29th).
The program, which measures 12” x 12”, is in very good condition overall, with some minor scuffing and wear to the front and back cover. The signed page is flawless and all signatures are bold, complete and excellent examples from their all-important breakthrough year of 1964. Very few of these Beatles (USA) Ltd. 1964 programs were signed by The Beatles because it was virtually impossible for fans to get to them either before or after a performance once they arrived in America. This was quite a turnaround from just a year earlier, when they were still fairly accessible while touring in Great Britain. Signed as beautifully as it is, this is without a doubt one of the nicest autographed Beatles 1964 tour programs in existence.....$25,000
(click images to view larger)
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