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Unknown Band-Signed "Meet the Beatles" Album Surfaces in Antiques Auction, Sells for $63,250

Beatles history was made on May 21. On that day, Case Antiques, a regional art and antiques auction house in Knoxville, Tenn., sold a previously unknown "Meet the Beatles" album, signed by the Fab Four.

It wasn't the price that made history. At $63,250 including the buyer's premium, the price was good, considering it was the only music piece offered in an antique and art auction, but not a particularly strong. The Hard Rock auctioned a similar one around a decade ago for about $77,000, and Beatles specialist Frank Caiazzo sold a "Meet the Beatles" a few years ago that he was asking over $100,000 for. His buyer reportedly sold it about a year later for significantly more.

What's history-making is that it is only the 13th or 14th U.S. release Beatles album signed by John, Paul, George and Ringo known to exist. And while very rare, "Meet the Beatles" is the most common band-signed U.S. label Beatles album, with 5-6 now known.


 

 

Famous, Yet Surprising Provenance

The album was consigned to auction by a son of Jules Gordon, M.D., the New York City doctor who famously treated George Harrison for a sore throat before the Beatles' appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964. The sore throat could have prevented Harrison's ability to sing on the show.

What's surprising is that until this album appeared, it was thought that the Beatles gave only one signed album to Dr. Gordon: the "Meet the Beatles" sold in the Hard Rock auction over a decade ago. If the provenance of the Hard Rock album is accurate, then at least two albums were signed for the doctor. (Experts agree that the autographs on both albums are unquestionably authentic.)

Word was that the buyer of this album was a collector/dealer who was offering it for sale at $125,000, but the owner contacted us and said that is not the case and that he's not actively trying to sell it at this time.

Unfortunately, we didn't hear about the album before the auction, but this is the press release Case Antiques sent out two weeks prior to the sale:

 

Rare Signed Beatles Album Headlines Case’s Spring Auction

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— On May 21, 2011, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals will gavel a piece of Rock and Roll history: a Meet The Beatles! album signed by all four Beatles the day before their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. The autographed album was consigned by a direct descendant of Dr. Jules Gordon, the New York City physician who treated George Harrison for a sore throat on February 8, 1964. The album is included as part of Case’s Spring auction, which will take place at the company’s gallery in Knoxville for persons wishing to bid in person and simultaneously online for national and international bidders.

The Background Story That Made the News
On February 9, 1964, The Beatles made their much-anticipated American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. But the day before the show, on Saturday, February 8, there was concern one of the band members, George Harrison, might miss the big moment because he had strep throat. Thomas Buckley noted in the New York Times on February 8, 1964: “Mr. Harrison, who is known as the quiet Beatle, awoke yesterday with a sore throat. He was treated by Dr. Jules Gordon, used a vaporizer and rejoined his colleagues at the studio late in the afternoon. ‘I should be perfect for tomorrow,’ he said.”

According to George Harrison’s sister, Louise Caldwell, the situation was more serious than they let on. In The Beatles Off The Record by Keith Badman, Louise Caldwell recalled: “The doctor said he couldn’t do The Ed Sullivan Show because he had a temperature of 104! But they pumped him with everything. He was thinking about getting a nurse to administer the medicine, every hour on the hour. Then the doctor suddenly realized that I was there and was his sister and he said to me, ‘Would you see to it? It’s probably just as well that you’re here because I don’t think there’s a single female in the city that isn’t crazy about The Beatles! You’re probably the only one who could function around him normally’.”

The physician who treated Harrison was Dr. Jules Gordon, the house doctor at the Plaza Hotel from 1942 until 1985. Dr. Gordon was called from his 4th floor office to the Presidential Suites on the 12th floor where The Beatles were staying. As doctor to many celebrities, Dr. Gordon didn’t fawn over The Beatles. “He was very unassuming and treated everyone with the same respect, no matter who they were. People just took to him,” said a Gordon family member. The Beatles must have liked Dr. Gordon because they gave him several unsolicited personalized autographs. Dr. Gordon met The Beatles on at least two occasions during their visit to New York for the Ed Sullivan Show and commented to his family that The Beatles were very accommodating and likeable each time.

Over the years, as the house physician for the Plaza and other well-known hotels in New York City, Dr. Gordon treated many famous people and Hollywood stars such as Rock Hudson, Bette Davis, Burt Lancaster, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Liz Taylor, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, and others. Dr. Gordon, who passed away in 1993, was also the club physician for the New York Yankees in the 1940s and 1950s. He made the news in 1947 when he performed surgery on Joe DiMaggio and removed a 3-inch spur from his left heel, which enabled Dimaggio to go on to help the Yankees win the 1947 World Series.

A Rare Piece of ‘Beatles’ History
The Meet The Beatles album contained the Beatle’s first U.S. chart-topping hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It was released in the U.S. on January 20th, just ahead of the band’s first U.S. tour, and less than three weeks before The Beatles signed it for Dr. Gordon. Autographs by all four Beatles on an LP from their early years are highly sought after by collectors. As Autograph Magazine noted in an article on January 25, 2011, “If you have a Beatles album signed by all four band members, you’ve got something quite valuable. Albums in good condition typically range from about $15,000 for the most common one, “Please Please Me,” to well over $100,000 for some of the rarest albums, especially U.S. releases. …Band-signed Beatles albums are very hard to come by.” Although the Meet The Beatles album in this auction is conservatively estimated at $10,000-$15,000, it is such a unique item that the hammer price could be much higher. According to John Case, President of Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, “It’s one of the earliest signed Beatles albums we’re aware of, and for it to be associated with such an important moment in the Beatles’ career makes it even more extraordinary.”

 

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Tags: 2011, 21, May, U.S., album, antiques, auction, beatles, case, lable, More…meet, release, signed, the

Comment by Christopher Williams on June 7, 2011 at 2:53pm

Even though I have never been in Frank's shoes, I am a little offended by the comment that Frank is "Partying like a rock star with his lawsuit winnings."

You have no idea the toll it takes on the people who fight the dirt-bags of the hobby on a daily basis.  Many of us spend a lot of our time on a daily basis to do battle with those that have caused close to irreparable harm to the hobby.  We tolerate threats on at least a weekly basis and I, for one, take this battle seriously.

Many people come here looking for free advice (which we don't mind giving), and the majority of those that give that "free" advice are those that are doing battle with the bad guys every day.

So the next time you comment, please think before you write.

Comment by roger epperson on June 7, 2011 at 3:13pm
Amen Christopher!
Comment by John Hinchman on June 7, 2011 at 3:21pm
All I meant from the authentication dealer status is that sometimes I feel it is a conflict of interest. By no means am I saying either Perry or Frank have been part of that as I have high regard for both. It is something in a perfect collecting world (which it obviously isn't) would be nice to see. I have never seen the one sold in Hard Rock, but I would love to see it if there is a link available. I feel the PR and auction which this item was in truly didn't do the piece justice. As much as it sounds bad to be offering something for nearly two times what was paid for it, in my opinion it is incredibly historic and worth right around the price it is being offered. But that's not the story here, the story is this is a great find, and one that slipped through the cracks. Who ever owns it, kudos for being aware, as it took must of us up until a month later to recognize it. Nice write by the way.
Comment by Sidney Fields on June 7, 2011 at 3:25pm

I'm not easily shocked by anything.

But the fact that none of the top people in the autograph field who populate this site knew of this auction is beyond shocking. How on earth could the sale of such a rare piece be such a secret in the Internet age?  

The PR firm obviously didn't try too hard.  And it's obviously  focused on old school media.  If it sent a release to Goldmine, this incident shows how irrelevant Goldmine has become.  Had the release come here, I imagine the sale price might well have been substantially higher.  The seller and the auction house lost a nice piece of cash. This auction house might be better served with a new PR outfit.

 

First, it is would appear that neither the son nor the auction house had any knowledge of the 

Comment by Christopher Williams on June 7, 2011 at 3:30pm
Mr. Sidney Fields, what a great name.  I immediately thought of that great comedic actor Sidney Fields from the Abbott & Costello comedy series.
Comment by John Hinchman on June 7, 2011 at 3:44pm
I completely agree Sidney, they lost a lot of money, it easily could have went in the 100's just like franks did, this was the doctor that shot up George! With out this doctor, someone would have stepped in for George, i am unsure who, but could that have changed Beatles history as we know it is my question. As the ed sullivan show was so big in the Beatles come up, would it have had a huge impact on what is the Beatles? Anyone's thoughts?
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on June 7, 2011 at 4:22pm
If anyone has comments on our signed Beatles album census, please let me know. This is the second new full band-signed album that will eventually be added to the initial count. There's a previously unknown "With the Beatles" also about to be counted. That's one new US and one new UK.
Comment by Sidney Fields on June 7, 2011 at 4:36pm

Christopher, I'm glad someone remembers Sidney Fields (nee Feldman).

He really was a GREAT comedic actor...and largely unappreciated today.  He never had much regular on-camera work besides A & C and a slot on Frank Sinatra's short-lived TV show in the early 50's.  More common were film bit parts...including one - as unlikely as it may seem - in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Abbott & Costello's show had such a terrific ensemble with Mr. Fields, the great Joe Besser and Hillary Brooke. It's no wonder they were the inspiration for Seinfeld.  

Now back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

Comment by Christopher Williams on June 7, 2011 at 4:49pm
Mr. Fields, I have the entire Abbott & Costello TV series on DVD and as you well know they are all hilarious.    He was very much unappreciated but certainly not forgotten by fans.
Comment by Alexander Mehl on June 7, 2011 at 6:29pm

Nice to read the different comments but till now there's no evidence that the sigs are all original handwritten by the Beatles!

Which experts mentioned in the description checked the autographs personally and had the sleeve in hand? A declaration of any Hard Rock Cafe is worthless like a guitar with a faked McCartney signature found in New York HR Cafe.

Are any original autographs known written in February 1964? I have only January and March in my files....and later!!

I'm just working at signed concert programs of 1964  and found out that one was sold for $ 15,000.00 and exact the same (100%) autographs on another same program sold for GBP 7,000.00! The only difference is that the other four sigs positioned approx. 2 mm (Millimeter) to the right! The currency shows wellknown dealers in the countries!

You know what I mean! To say the sigs are genuine is not correct because only the lettering on the photo is visible. You all know that there are some "specialists" which print every signature on a sleeve!

 

To Steve C: Just came back with my Beatles fake exhibition in the north of my country showing among other things two COAs of the worldwide famous Beatles authenticator who failed again! It's only to ask who's trustworthy or not. Like Lennon once sung "I believe in me...."!

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