A UK auction consigner has discovered this to her chagrin, after her attempt to sell a set of original drawings by Sir Paul McCartney led to a legal response from the former Beatle.
The drawings were set to be auctioned at Dominic Winter in Gloucester, UK, yesterday (June 16).
That's nothing unusual in itself, as manuscripts written by McCartney - and cartoons scrawled by his late fellow Beatle John Lennon - have previously brought large sums at auction.
But this was a rather unusual lot: a set of drawings by Sir Paul McCartney originally intended for a children's cartoon, entitled The Bruce McMouse Show (you can watch him discussing it, here).
The cartoon McMouse has since become a topic of hearsay among Paul McCartney fans. Initially intended as a one-hour part-animated film for ITV, the film was made but never shown.
Only McCartney owns the master copy of the film - and has apparently decided to claim ownership of his original sketches as well.
Consigner Maggie Thornton, a museum curator from Tewkesbury, was apparently stunned by McCartney's reaction. She acquired the drawings from her father, who was involved in producing the original The Bruce McMouse Show.
A lot of fuss has been made over this mouse... Sir Paul McCartney's hallowed Bruce McMouse sketch
"I've put these drawings forward in good faith," Ms Thornton told local newspaper the Gloucestershire Echo. "Dad always said Paul had given them to him in order to make the film."
"Why would I think my dad didn't own them? I've no reason to believe they're not part of his worldly goods and chattels. He used to work from home a lot and I have a lot of his effects. They're his life's work and I don't want to throw them away."
The rough drawings are on hotel headed paper and peppered with scribbles. "None of them are things that you could frame and say they're beautiful," said Ms Thornton.
"But I thought someone would want them and I've always been passionate about sharing artwork."
In total, 15 lots were withdrawn from the sale. "We regret that due to circumstances beyond our control and that of the vendor, all of the Paul McCartney/Bruce McMouse lots have been withdrawn from the auction," said auctioneer Dominic Winter in a statement published on its website.
We find ourselves siding with the seller, here at Paul Fraser Collectibles. On the other hand, perhaps McCartney has upcoming plans for The Bruce McMouse Show that we don't know about...
Either way, as the comedian Ricky Gervais once said after making a joke at McCartney's expense at the Golden Globe awards, and regretting it afterwards: "Never p*ss off a Beatle - rule #1."
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