Auction site Gotta Have Rock and Roll is the go-to portal for memorabilia connected to the Beatles. While there are items aplenty from other notable icons, including Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley, the site draws the most notice with items up for auction from the Fab Four. One in particular is looming large in their legend.
A portion of the backdrop that was used for the group's second appearance on February 9, 1964, is now up for the highest bidder. The minimum bid is $500,000. However, the site estimates it will sell between $750,000 - $1,000,000. This dollar figure is not unusual due to the rarity of this one-of-a-kind item and its historical significance in rock music.
The signatures (with Paul McCartney adding 'Uncle') and self-caricatures were hastily scrawled moments before they were due to take the stage. Stagehand Jerry Gort asked them to sign a portion of the movable wall and handed them a pen. According to Gort, "John, Paul and George signed the wall first and when it came to Ringo he had to [be lifted] up by his waist to sign. Immediately after Ringo signed and completed his drawing he had to run to get to his drum kit before the performance started."
Other guests signed the wall later in the show's season, including The Searchers, close co-horts of the Beatles, who noted with typical tongue-in-cheek 'The Searchers Were Here With Kilroy 4/5/64' and drew a map of England.
Yet it's the further adventures of this treasure that keeps the story intriguing. The entire set and that portion of the wall was set to be dumped, but was rescued and sent to a handicapped Beatle fan.
From the site: 'This historic piece of Beatles memorabilia hung for years at the popular Southdowns Lounge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The young Beatle fan named Loftin Sproles who had received it in 1964 fell upon some hard times in the mid-1980s and offered to sell it to Rodney Cary, the owner of the lounge. Cary, having just added a kitchen to Southdowns, wasn't sure he could come up with the cash to buy it, but when he and his three-person lunch staff dug into their saved tips, they managed to come up with the asking price. Cary set up a display in his lounge along busts of the Beatles and a script telling the story of the piece of this amazing hardwall traveler signed by the Fab Four. There it stayed until Cary found out how much it might be worth when he and his wife Laurie took it to Los Angeles for an exhibit at a Beatles festival. After receiving offers in the six-figure range, they took the signed wall piece back to Baton Rouge, placed it in a bank vault, and inserted a photographic replica into the lounge's display. In 2002, Cary decided to sell the signatures to a buyer from New Jersey who flew into Baton Rouge for the sole purpose of making the purchase.'
The site notes there is some wear and tear, due to its age, but is now professionally mounted in a shadow box display frame at 16 inches x 48 inches and comes with Letters of Authenticity.