Authenticity Concerns Over Signed "Beatles '65" in Julien's Auctions May 17 Sale

Julien's Auctions is scheduled to auction Lot 685, a band-signed "Beatles '65" album at Saturday's Music Icons Sale.

It was authenticated in 2005 by the world's top Beatles expert; a remarkably sharp and honest man. It has powerful provenance. It sold in 2005 to an astute, long-time Beatles collector, reportedly for six-figures.

But on Monday, Roger Epperson shared some of his concerns about the album with me. We spent a lot of time since then investigating the Beatles '65, and things just aren't adding up for us.

Maybe the album was genuinely signed by the Beatles. We don't think so. We think Julien's should pull it from the auction pending further study.

Julien's auction listing discription of the album:

Lot 685 of 724:
THE BEATLES SIGNED BEATLES '65 ALBUM

A Beatles signed Beatles '65 album sleeve. Signed by all four members of the band circa late 1964-early 1965. The Capitol Records released stereo LP sleeve is signed on the front cover. Paul McCartney signed "Beatles/ Paul McCartney/ XXX," and Ringo Starr signed "The Beatles/ Ringo Starr." George Harrison and John Lennon have each signed his name. Housed in a frame with a “gold” vinyl copy of the record.

The album was given to a CBS Television executive from another CBS employee who attended a meet-and-greet with The Beatles and obtained the signatures.

In general, The Beatles signed the back of their album sleeves and most signed albums are early British Parlophone Records releases. The reason for this is that once Beatlemania hit the band was not as accessible and therefore signed US Capitol released LPs, or any Beatles album released after 1964, are extremely difficult to find. In his 2005 evaluation of this album, Beatles expert, Perry Cox called the album "...one of the finest known signed Beatles album in the world."

Accompanied by letters of authenticity from Perry Cox and Frank Caiazzo, whose expertise was paraphrased in this description, and a letter of authenticity from a family member of the CBS executive who was originally given the album.

28 3/4 by 41 1/4 inches

Main photo in listing:

Large photo we found online (click to enlarge):

Letter of provenance by Sean Fanning, who sold the album to Perry Cox in 2005:

You can view genuine examples of Summer 1964 to Summer 1965 Beatles autographs to compare the album's autographs to here.

These are some of our main concerns about the album:

1) Beatles '65 is a U.S. release that came out on December 15, 1964. It was supposedly signed at a meet-and-greet for a California CBS executive. The Beatles' last 1964 U.S. concert was Sept. 20. They didn't return to the U.S. until Aug. 13, 1965, the day the "Help!" L.P. was released in the U.S. We couldn't find any meet-and-greets, let alone one a CBS executive is likely to have attended.

(The Beatles were in the Bahamas to film "Help!" from Aug. 22 to Mar. 10., but meet and greets would have been unlikely there, and I couldn't find any.)

2) The signatures have circa 1963 characteristics.

3) Having "Beatles" written on the cover once, let alone twice, is highly atypical.

4) In some cases there is writing in the album's nicks and scratches. Since the album was supposedly signed new, that's a significant concern.

For those who don't know, I'm not a professional authenticator. Roger, however, is. He's the leading specialist authenticator in popular music autographs. I looked at what Roger pointed out to me about the autographs, and confirmed it against known reliable exemplars, and examples of signed Beatles memorabilia.

This is extremely important:

Everyone makes mistakes or decisions that other reputable experts may disagree on. Even the world's top experts. Frank Caiazzo, the most respected Beatles autograph authenticator, is the expert who authenticated this album in 2005. He's also a good friend; one I highly trust and admire. The forgery industry attacks Frank every chance they get, just like they do Roger Epperson, Steve Grad of PSA/DNA and James Spence of JSA. The fraudsters know how to inflame crowds, and there's a good chance some will, to further their interests. Don't fall for it.

Now Roger will go over his concerns with you in the first comments.

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Tags: beatles

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on May 16, 2014 at 3:17am
That's now corrected in your post, Roger.
Comment by terrier8HOF on May 16, 2014 at 4:02am

has anyone discussed this with Frank or Perry?

Comment by roger epperson on May 16, 2014 at 4:23am

I believe Steve did talk to both.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on May 16, 2014 at 6:59am

Important question, Terrier. Yes, I talked to both Frank and Perry. Both still believe the album is genuinely signed, and neither of them objected to me posting this blog. 

BTW, I just posted the letter of provenance from Sean Fanning in the blog.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on May 16, 2014 at 7:05am

Now if Sean Fanning has photos from the 1960s or '70s of his family with the album, that would boost the argument that the album is just oddly signed and breaks some Beatles autograph rules.

Comment by roger epperson on May 16, 2014 at 7:39am

I agree, or at least clear up this "meet and greet" thing for starters.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on May 16, 2014 at 8:18am

I emailed Darren Julien, the head of Julien's Auctions, a link to this blog right after I posted it yesterday, saying I wanted to give him a heads-up on it.

He replied that he wouldn't trust anything I said. He called it another of my "worthless smear campaigns."

Comment by Xwiesy on May 16, 2014 at 8:50am
They have a letter of authenticity from the two most respected Beatle authenticators in the world, that thing isn't going anywhere.
Comment by Brick Hunter on May 16, 2014 at 10:01am

This blog post is a good learning tool; if nothing else than to show the amount of detective work that goes into authentication. Some of the points Roger raised are hard to get over. The writing over the dents and scruffs in the album and the xxx under Paul McCartney specifically. It would be nice if either Frank or Perry could share their side and continue this teachable moment.

Comment by BallroomDays67 on May 16, 2014 at 11:51am

I agree. There are questions about the provenance that really should be addressed. I'm unable to come up with a scenario under which it could have been signed at a "meet and greet" during that time period.

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