The Beatles’ first contract with Brian Epstein to be auctioned

The Beatles’ first contract with manager Brian Epstein is expected to sell for about £300,000 at auction.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and their first drummer Pete Best signed the document on 24 January 1962, before achieving worldwide fame.

“[Epstein] stopped them eating on stage,” Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at the Sotheby’s auction house, said.

“He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set.”

Image copyrightSOTHEBY’Scontract
Image captionGeorge Harrison, Paul McCartney, Best and John Lennon signed the document


The document, said to have been signed by the band in the front room of Best’s mother’s house, was the first of two contracts drawn up between Epstein and The Beatles.

It gave Epstein responsibility for finding the band work, and managing their schedule and publicity.

He was also to oversee “all matters concerning clothes, make-up and the presentation and construction of the artists’ acts and also on all music to be performed”.

Mr Heaton said: “He was just blown away by the passion, the energy, the charisma, the raw sexuality on stage.

“They had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them.”

The band’s previous manager, Allan Williams, had warned Epstein “they’ll let you down”.


Brian Epstein

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESGeorge Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Brian Epstein and John Lennon
Image captionBrian Epstein had two contracts with The Beatles 
  • The Liverpool-born manager was in charge of the record section of his family’s shop, North End Music Stores, when he first saw The Beatles at the city’s Cavern Club
  • After signing the band, he changed their image from leather jackets and jeans to suit and ties
  • Epstein managed other Merseyside acts, including Cilla Black, and Gerry and The Pacemakers
  • He died in 1967, aged 32, following a drug overdose – the inquest ruled it as an accidental death

However, Epstein did not sign the contract himself, saying “even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100% faith in myself to help The Beatles adequately”.

“I wanted to free The Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off,” he said.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESJohn Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney relaxing on a sofa
Image captionRingo Starr joined the band later in 1962 

The contract outlines that Epstein’s fee would be 10%, rising to 15% if their earnings should exceed £120 a week – McCartney had negotiated the maximum limit down from 20%.

Following Best’s departure from the band, another contract was signed on 1 October 1962 with Ringo Starr as drummer – and Epstein’s cut at a higher percentage.

The original contract, from the collection of Epstein’s publisher Ernest Hecht, is being auctioned for the first time next month.

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    THE BEATLES She Loves You (1983 UK 20th Anniversary issue of the 1963 7" vinyl single with black & silver Parlophone labels & four prong centre. Also features I'll Get You, picture sleeve. The sleeve shows minimal wear, just some light creases and the vinyl shows a few hairlines and light surface scuffs but looks great for its age R5055)

  • The Beatles - Rubber Soul - 2 Box - Gram - Front Laminated - EX - UK - vinyl LP - £25.00, $30.50, €27.75 (New Item) (arrived 20-Sep-2019 13:45)
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    THE BEATLES Rubber Soul (1970 UK stereo issue of the 1965 14-track LP on the two boxed EMI logo label with 'The Gramophone Co Ltd' perimeter text, front laminated picture sleeve. The sleeve is Excellent with just a little light ring wear & ageing & the vinyl grades Excellent with just minor evidence of play PCS3075)

  • The Beatles - Revolver - Two Box - Gram - F/B - UK - vinyl LP - £50.00, $61.00, €55.50 (New Item) (arrived 20-Sep-2019 13:43)
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    THE BEATLES Revolver (1970 UK issue of the 1966 14-track stereo LP on the two EMI boxed logo label with 'Gramophone Co' perimeter text, front laminated flipback picture sleeve without 'stereo' logo on the front. The sleeve shows just alittle shelfwear & the vinyl remains in Excellent condition with merely the lightest spot of cosmetic wear one side not affecting play. A nice copy of this Beatles classic! PCS7009)

  • The Beatles - The Beatles [White Album] - 1st - VG - UK - 2-LP vinyl set - £295.00, $359.90, €327.45 (New Item) (arrived 20-Sep-2019 13:17)
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    THE BEATLES The Beatles (Rare 1968 UK first issue 30-track double stereo LP with 'Sold in UK' label text, dark green Apple labels, black one-sided die-cut inners, large fold out lyric poster & four glossy 8" x 11" high quality colour photo prints in a fully laminated, top opening, individually numbered [0511555] internal flipback gatefold sleeve. The panels of the cover are nice & clean across all four sides & the sleeve grades VG+ due to some corner creasing from ring wear, forgiveable with age. The photo inserts remain unused & the contents, besides the vinyl, appear in Excellent condition. The vinyl grades VG/VG+ & plays through superbly with no major sound issues. Both records have some spindle marks & light cosmetic signs of play, with the occasional hairline or scuff causing only the odd minor surface noise on occasion. Tough to find complete in any acceptable condition, not to mention the increasingly high price tag a mint copy demands, overall this is a very respectable starter copy of this scarce first pressing at a competitive price PCS7067-8)

  • The Beatles - Abbey Road - 1st - EX - UK - vinyl LP - £75.00, $91.50, €83.25 (New Item) (arrived 20-Sep-2019 12:51)
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    THE BEATLES Abbey Road (1969 UK first issue of the classic 16-track LP, which does not have 'Her Majesty' credit on either the sleeve or label, fully laminated picture sleeve. The sleeve is in Excellent condition with some minor ring wear scuffing & the vinyl grades EX/EX- revealing some spindle marks by the centre hole & just the occasional light paper hairline to show play PCS7088)

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