Beatles Ed Sullivan Show drum skin to auction at Julien's

Nathan Parke

Nathan Parke

2015-10-06 09:29:09

A Beatles drum skin used during the band's landmark appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show will cross the auction block next month.

The drum skin, featuring the band's famous logo, is regarded as one of the most iconic pieces of Beatles memorabilia to come to auction in recent years and has been described as "a certifiable cultural and emotional touchstone for a generation".

More than 70 million viewers across the U.S tuned in on February 9, 1964 to watch music history being made. The Beatles' performance signalled the start of the 'British Invasion', and set the Fab Four on the course of international stardom.

The drum skin was one of just seven featuring the band's drop-T logo, five of which were hand-painted by London sign painter Edwin Stokes. The Ed Sullivan skin was painted in January 1964, specifically for use of the band's forthcoming US tour, and delivered to manager Brian Epstein a week before they departed.

The band packed light for their first U.S trip, and Ringo took just his snare drum, cymbals and this skin, which was then fitted onto a new kit purchased at Manny's Music Shop in Manhattan. He played it during the band's three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, and live shows at the Washington Coliseum and the world-famous Carnegie Hall. 

It was then retired to Abbey Road Studios when the band returned to England, and spent 20 years hidden away before being sold at auction for the first time. It was acquired by the Australian restaurateur George Wilkins in 1984 for just under $9,000, and then spent the next 10 years on display in his restaurant before heading back to Sotheby's in 1994.

It then sold for around $44,000 to avid Beatles collector Russ Lease, whose own meticulous research authenticated its appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and is now heading to auction for the third time in its history.

Estimates for the drum skin are upon request, but experts believe it could sell for more than half a million dollars.

The Julien's Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll Auction takes place in Beverly Hills on November 7.

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