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In a sale benefiting the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation the very first management contract signed by The Beatles on Jan. 24, 1962, sold for $347,875 at a Sotheby‘s auction this week.
The document was signed by principal members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and original drummer Pete Best for the services of manager Brian Epstein. Epstein discovered the band when they were performing at Liverpool’s Cavern Club on Nov. 9, 1961. Though he had no prior management experience before pitching his services to the then-unknown foursome, he never actually signed the final document.
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The contract guaranteed Epstein – who died of a drug overdose in Aug. 1967 – a 10% fee that would rise to 15% if the band’s income exceeded $150 a week (McCartney had negotiated down from 20%). “This contract was a transformative document not only for The Beatles, but also for the 1960s and popular culture of the time,” said Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts specialist Gabriel Heaton in a statement before the auction.
An interesting fact remains that McCartney, Harrison and Best were under 21 at the time of the signing in Epstein’s office at his NEMS record shop in Whitechapel, and had their fathers summoned to co-sign the document.
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