Candid Beatles photos from their 1964 arrival in America achieve $362,000


2015-06-26 12:29:34


Candid Beatles photos from their 1964 arrival in America achieve $362,000

As America began to wake up to the Fab Four, photographer Mike Mitchell was first on the scene

Fab Four fans have had their excitement built up to fever-pitch over the past couple of months as a set of photographs from little-known photographer Mike Mitchell left their hiding place on a forgotten roll of film and were exhibited in London and New York.

The images were shot in black and white by photographer Mike Mitchell when he was just 18 years old, and then filed away for 50 years.

They were taken on February 11, 1964, when just two days after their head-turning US debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles performed their first US concert at the Washington Coliseum.

Mitchell, who lived in Washington, took photos of their arrival and press conference before having virtually unrestricted stage access during the gig - something that an amateur photographer would only be able to dream of a year later.

Beatles Mitchell photograph halo 1964Halo and goodbye...Mitchell's $68,500 photograph

Having taken some wonderfully candid shots, Mitchell added some more at the Beatles' performance at Baltimore Civic Center on September 13, 1964.

Christie's New York auction last night (July 20) was therefore always going to be a lively affair, and perhaps predictably the top estimate of $100,000 for the 46 photographs was easily trounced with every lot sold.

Indeed the top three lots all brought 15-20 times their top estimates. A shot of a drum kit with the band's name emblazoned on a drum skin with the audience in the background which had a low estimate of just $500 brought $16,250.

As we suspected, the top lot was a shot of all four of them taken from the back with the stage-lights creating a halo-effect. This had been listed at just $2,000-3,000 (other lots were listed higher) but inevitably there was a long climb up from this by battling bidders.

In the end, the fantastic shot was sold for a striking $68,500. In total the sale achieved $361,938.

That many of the lots beat their estimate is unsurprising as Beatles memorabilia remains highly coveted around the world. A signed photo of them has increased in value by 336.4% since 2000 according to the PFC40 index.

Now fans will be looking ahead to the sale of Astrid Kirchherr's legendary collection of Beatles photographs in September - or they could buy some of her work right now.

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