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May We Inquire Discreetly? Paul McCartney's Rough Draft of 'Lovely Rita' Lyrics up for Sale

Biblioctopus Rare Books is bringing the item to the Antiquarian Association Booksellers of America (AABA) Fair with an asking price of $650,000.


'Give us a wink and make me think of you.'

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Paul McCartney's handwritten rough draft lyrics for "Lovely Rita," from 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, are due to hit the auction block.

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Source: MEGA

The Beatles at the press launch for 'Sgt. Pepper," London, May 1967.

Biblioctopus Rare Books is bringing the item to the 64th edition of the Antiquarian Association Booksellers of America (AABA) Fair in New York City from April 4 – 7 with an asking price of $650,000.

The piece of paper, torn from a spiral steno notebook, is framed with "a full-size, uncorrected, 1st state proof photograph of the album cover, varying in that McCartney is kneeling, the band instruments have been passed around, and two people are among the onlookers who would not sign releases, and therefore did not appear on the published album," according to the description at Biblioctopus' website.

The original purchase price for Biblioctopus was $20,000 and since the 1990s, it's been in their storage space in Los Angeles. Alex Hime, director of Bibilioctopus noted (via Penta) that this "is a cool piece of ephemera" and added, "It represents the most important category of popular culture in the second half of the 20th century, which is pop music."

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Source: Biblioctopus

'Got the bill and Rita paid it...'

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Original lyrics for pop music have found their way from attics, cupboards and bedrooms into the hands of collectors for quite a while. However, with the increase in publicity and the status of the songwriter, prices for such have become exponentially more expensive. "A Day in the Life" sold for $1,202,500 at Sotheby's in 2010 and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" sold at auction for $2,000,000 in 2014.

The last McCartney manuscript of a Beatles song at auction was an abridged copy of 10 condensed lines from "Hey Jude" that he wrote out to be used as a key by a backup musician in the studio for its recording at Trident Studios, London in July 1968. That sold for $910,000 at Julien's in 2020.

However, McCartney's beginning draft of "Hey Jude" can be seen on display at The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool. The notebook containing scribbles, lyrics and notations from all four Beatles was the property of their road manager Mal Evans. You can purchase tickets to the entire museum's exhibitions here.

Source: Julien's Auctions/MEGA

"Take a sad song and make it better..."

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Nearly 200 exhibitors from 15 countries will participate in the 64th annual ABAA New York International Antiquarian Book Fair from April 1 – 4. Items that will be presented include rare books, maps, illustrations, historical documents, prints, and print ephemera.


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