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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 Alexander Mehl on June 7, 2011 at 6:34pm

May I ask if there's no one with any experiences regarding GENESIS books mentioned in my threat May, 22nd:  http://live.autographmagazine.com/profiles/blogs/george-harrison-ge...

Every response is highly appreciated.

Comment by John Hinchman on June 7, 2011 at 6:58pm
Alexander what are you talking about?? There is no question about the authenticity of these signatures once so ever. The article is purely about the rarity and historic value of the piece along with the surprise that it was so far under the radar to be able to be offered for twice as much with in weeks of auction, while still being in a fair range.
Comment by sling on June 7, 2011 at 7:03pm

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.

Now geez, I thought a little humor might living things because you guys were talking about something that Frank would have no problem with the public hearing-his personal finances!

And I know you fight the good fight and you guys are tough fighters with big risk, kinda like our servicemen in Afgahistan...

One thing is, when you say 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, I can only say that numerous people who you  would include within the  Many of us comment,   I have personally been ripped off by.  Thats ontop of an seperate from the fact that I am the guy who bought the album that caused the stir up between ARA and Frank.  Long before there was FBI, police, lawyers and so on there was only me having a good amount of corespndence and conversation, some remarkable, between Gladston and Morales while trying to get my money back. 

 

Sometime in the future, I will detail my exerpience with both the ARA thing and other ways that I have been taken advantage of by various auction houses and so on.

And I'll be careful what I say-by the way, are the rumours true that Chris Williams is really the internet name of chris morales?

 

 

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on June 7, 2011 at 9:11pm
This is going to be fun.

I'm out until later but would live to hear your story P.S.

Alex, same here. But you may not have understood a couple things said...in case not, we'll discuss it when I'm available later, or in the morning. It's 9 pm my time.
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on June 8, 2011 at 12:15am

Alex,

I just featured your Harrison Genesis book post, so hopefully people will notice it now.

I don't know what experts looked in person at the "Meet the Beatles" that just sold, but if none saw it in person before, they almost certainly will if the buyer wants one to issue a COA for it. I don't believe the auction house had it authenticated, but some of the bidders consulted Roger Epperson and probably others. He didn't examine it in person, however. That would have required flying him to Tennessee.

While I don't doubt that these are ink-on-paper signed genuine Beatles autographs, I agree with you, though, that if I bought it, I'd want an expert to examine it in person right away. I think it will check out fine, but an opinion of genuine is only confirmed by examining it in person. On the other hand, you rarely need to see an autograph in person to confirm it is a forgery.

The Hard Rock "Meet the Beatles" was sold at least 10 years ago I believe. While it seems to be well accepted as the real deal, I agree with you that memorabilia in some Hard Rocks is questionable. I heard that their buyer years ago was often taken advantage of, and I imagine much of that memorabilia is still in their restaurants today.

Regarding your exhibition and the programs:

I know you love finding things you think are mistakes by respected experts, whether they are dealers, authenticators or both. But I don't know one true expert who says they've never made a mistake. What matters is:

  • What percentage of the items they call authentic are probably not?
  • Do they learn from their mistakes, so they keep getting better as time goes on?
  • Do they acknowledge their mistakes?
  • If they are a dealer, or an auction house or authenticator that offers a guarantee of authenticity, is it a good guarantee and do they meaningfully honor it?

So on one hand, I think you are helping the Beatle autograph marketplace if you find a mistake and point it out. Particularly when you advise the parties involved first.

But on the other hand, I think you are recklessly damaging the legitimate Beatles marketplace to massage your own ego by trying to destroy the reputations of experts who are correct the vast majority of the time.

Your exhibition of "...two COAs of the worldwide famous Beatles authenticator who failed again!" (assuming you're right) is little different than the Taliban triumphantly parading around the body of a U.S. fighter pilot.

That said, I invite you to start discussions on both the COAs in your exhibition, and the programs, in either the Forum or the Rock Autographs group. The reason I'd rather not discuss them extensively here is that this is a blog, and blogs are not threaded like discussions are, so they're harder to follow.

Set up a discussion for each of the topics you've mentioned. Let's get some education on!

Comment by John Hinchman on June 8, 2011 at 9:19am
Its not an exact science every one knows that, so everyone makes mistakes. This is undoubtedly real and one of the great examples of early Beatles signings. It's so unique for an item like this to be held onto for over 40 years, then surface now. I thought we have seen every signed album but i am mistaken again. As far as Beatles signed pieces by all four, this one might have the most history of any I have ever heard.
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on June 8, 2011 at 9:50am

I think more genuine Beatles albums will trickle out over time, including US releases. But unless they're "Please Please Me" or "With the Beatles" they'll always be very rare and make news.

I agree, though, it's hard to beat the history on this piece. Louise Harrison's "Meet the Beatles" tops it, but not by much. What's surprising, though, is that this is the second one with the provenance of being signed for Dr. Gordon. I don't know the proof of provenance the Hard Rock one had, but this one's seems rock solid.

Comment by Alexander Mehl on June 10, 2011 at 6:12am

Steve,

I have no understanding to compare my hints of wrong COAs issued by wellknown authenticators with any talibans or activities (Abu Ghraib) of any US forces in other countries....!!

If you would know me personally you never would claim using this blog to massage my ego raising problems with unbelievable proceedings in the autograph market mainly US and UK.

I never would state that you dear Steve belong to the autograph Mafia in the US helping and protecting frauds! If it's easier for you to say such idiots like me are not welcome here suspend my registration! I can live without this blog but possibly some people benefit of my notations.

Knowing meanwhile that it's not welcome to write names of the fallible authenticators and dealers it's worthless to open new blogs. Trying to contact such "experts" years ago there's always no response like "shut your mouth"! Or like this two weeks ago:

Dealer from UK (no name but Chorley): Interested buyer send me a COA of this company with four Beatles sigs for proof with a faked Lennon autograph. UK-dealer was informed by the interested person and dealer wrote to me what the hell is my problem with the sigs and added a scan of the four sigs but - attention! - changed the faked Lennon to a genuine one!! (The COA showed a fake.)!

If anyone now claims that such  business methods are serious then I'm in the wrong movie..!

It's in my eyes legal to talk about such occurrences here and all is provable.

Regarding the signed "Meet the Beatles" there are always unanswered questions and I'm waiting for examples of February 1964 for comparisation.

Comment by Steve Zarelli on June 30, 2011 at 9:14am
That's actually really neat.
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on June 30, 2011 at 3:27pm

Greg,

Heritage Auctions sold the guitar in Nov. 2009 for about $3,350 with the juice. Here's a close-up of the autographs:

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