Cards containing photographs of The Beatles which were made by NEMS Enterprises, Parlophone Records or The Beatles themselves were often signed by the four members of the group and given away in small quantities. Now they are extremely rare and very desirable, as few have actually survived intact. The earliest promotional photocards were issued when Pete Best was still in the band. Needless to say, there are very few in existence as he was only with the group for a short while afterwards.
In October of 1962, when The Beatles released their first single "Love Me Do", their new record company, Parlophone Records produced a small quantity of promotional photocards in 2 formats - a horizontal and a vertical, both with pictures being shot by Dezo Hoffman while The Beatles were in the studio. Almost all of these cards were signed on the reverse, because there was very little light area on the front of the cards for their signatures. Parlophone's second and final issue card was introduced in March of 1963 and came in two sizes: 5 3/4" X 3 5/8" and 7 1/2" X 5 1/2". Both cards lent themselves to being signed on the front, next to the photo of The Beatles because there was more light area to the right of their photo.
In September of 1963, The Official Beatles Fan Club produced a new photocard which contained one of the classic Dezo Hoffmann "seated collarless suit poses" from their July photo session. The vast majority of these cards were signed by the fan club secretaries and sent through the mail to members. The Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall signed a good number of these cards while the band was on tour in late 1963 and throughout 1964. However, some cards have turned up which have been authentically signed by John, Paul George and Ringo - but they are quite rare.
That was the last promo card issued, aside from the first name only autopen signed cards that were sent out by the fan club through 1967. These do turn up and the owners often mistake them for being actually signed by The Beatles, when in fact they were signed by a machine. The first name only signatures are the biggest give away here, as The Beatles almost never signed first name only - especially for autograph seeking fans. Signed promotional photocards are indeed rare and desirable and are certainly appreciating nicely, as are all authentic signed Beatles pieces.
PC2. A Scarce March 1963 Issue Parlophone Records Promotional Photocard
That Has Been Autographed By The Beatles
By the time mid-1963 rolled around, The Beatles were definitely starting to hit
their stride. Their first LP “Please Please Me” was a number 1 hit record, and
it was flanked on both sides by the number 1 singles “Please Please Me” and
“From Me To You”. They were touring throughout Great Britain, all the while
building tremendous momentum, and on July 3rd the band recorded a BBC radio
session for “On The Beat Show”, which took place at the Playhouse Theatre in
Manchester, England. For this show, the band performed 3 songs: “A Taste of
Honey”, “Twist and Shout” and the recently released number one hit “From Me To
The second issue of Parlophone Records promotional photocards came out in March
of 1963, featuring a shot of The Beatles taken by veteran theater photographer
Angus McBean. The photo session was conducted by McBean on Monday, January 21,
1963 at EMI House 20 Manchester Square, in London, for the purpose of creating
some new publicity portraits. The photographer took numerous shots of the band
against a wall of window, one of which was showcased on the front of the new
Here is one of these desirable promo cards, this one signed on the back by all
four members of The Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have
autographed in blue ballpoint pen, while George Harrison has used a black
ballpoint to sign. All four have added “X’s” following their signatures.
This promo card was signed by The Beatles on July 3, 1963, at the aforementioned
BBC radio show appearance “On The Beat Show”. The card measures 5 ¾” x 3 ½” and
is in good overall condition, with small pin holes to each corner and a small
area of paper loss to one lower corner. These rare Parlophone promo cards were
never abundant and are now extremely difficult to find, and they are without
question a step up from a signed album page in the hierarchy of Beatles signed
(click images to view larger)
PC1. The Beatles – Early Parlophone Promo Card, Signed January 6, 1963
On January 1, 1963, The Beatles flew from Hamburg to London after concluding a 13-night residency at Hamburg’s Star-Club the previous evening. With only one night’s rest in London and barely a breather in between, the group embarked the morning of January 2nd on a limited 5-date tour of Scotland. They caught a scheduled flight to Edinburgh where their devoted roadie and driver Neil Aspinall was waiting with their van to drive them to their first gig in the town of Keith. However, at the last minute, a raging snow and ice storm forced a diversion of the flight from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. Because the roads were virtually impassable, the first night’s show in Keith was cancelled. It was an inauspicious start to their first ‘proper’ tour. After playing shows in Elgin, Dingwall and Bridge of Allan from the 3rd to the 5th, they wrapped up the tour on the 6th at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen.
For offer here is a black and white Parlophone Records promotional photo card signed on the reverse by all four members of The Beatles on that last night of the tour. John, Paul and George have signed in dark blue ballpoint pen and Ringo Starr has signed in black ballpoint pen. Each signature is clear, bold and not rushed in any way and are textbook examples of The Beatles’ autographs from early 1963. The photo side of the card features an image of the group in the studio at Abbey Road during their recording session for ‘Love Me Do’. Taken September 4, 1962 by famed Beatles photographer Dezo Hoffmann, it shows the group in their final incarnation at the very beginning of their storied career. George Harrison sports a black eye ‘bestowed’ on him outside the Cavern Club by an irate fan who was retaliating for the band’s decision to dump drummer Pete Best for Ringo Starr less than three weeks before the photo was snapped. This promo card is one of the first depicting Ringo as a member of the band.
Accompanying the piece is a letter from the original recipient, who has written: “January 1963 – My friend and I went, as usual, to the ‘Sunday Night Concert’ at the Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen. Appearing one night was an up and coming group – The Beatles. My cousin, who was in Aberdeen on a visit from Canada, introduced himself to the Manager of the Beach Ballroom, as a DJ in Canada. He was invited to meet The Beatles, and my friend and I were invited too. Had we thought that these four young men, sitting drinking tea and coffee backstage, would reach the heights that The Beatles did, then we might have paid more attention to what they were saying, rather than just falling hook line and sinker for John Lennon. Isobel Henderson”. Signed pieces with written provenance like this are among the most desirable to own, enabling the collector to pinpoint the exact time and place of the signing.
Autographs from this short five-night tour are extremely rare and sets that can be tied to a specific date and venue are even more uncommon. The card measures 8.75cm x 14.5cm (3.5 inches x 5.7 inches). There is light creasing, wear and toning to the card and a 5mm tear to the bottom center. Otherwise, the card is in very good condition. This is a unique opportunity to acquire a beautiful autograph set signed just a short time after The Beatles’ final lineup was established.....$10,000
(click images to view larger)
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