The first contract The Beatles signed with their manager Brian Epstein has sold for an eye-watering £275,000 at auction.
The agreement with their manager was signed on January 24, 1962, a date that airs 14 months before The Beatles released their debut album, Please Please Me.
Obviously missing Ringo Starr, the contract was signed by John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and original drummer Pete Best. With the signing taking place in the kitchen of Best’s home, auctioneers are expecting the contract to fetch in excess of £300,000 at the sale.
“[Epstein] stopped them eating on stage,” Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at auction house Sotheby’s, told the BBC. “He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set.”
“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 contract is only one of two that the band signed with Epstein and, once speaking about the deal, the manager said he didn’t initially sign the first deal because he “wanted to free The Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off.”
Epstein would later say that he didn’t doubt the band’s loyalty to him and his commitment to the band: “Even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100 percent faith in myself to help The Beatles.”
For Epstein, the contract agrees that he would take 10% of the band’s income which would eventually rise to 15% if the agreed earnings went over £120 a week.