Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five best Beatles photographs

As we've reported, collectors will have a rare chance to own images from photographer Astrid Kirchherr's important Beatles archive at Guernsey's massive September 24-25 online auction.

The 2011 collectibles markets have offered an embarrassment of riches for Fab Four fanatics, for whom the sale from Kirchherr's archives - virtually every book written about the Beatles includes her work - is the icing on the cake.

Here are Paul Fraser Collectibles' expertly-chosen Beatles photographs, each of which has appeared for sale in the 2011 markets.

Have we missed any good ones out? If so, let us know by emailing


#5 Ringo and Pete Best... on the same signed photograph

Well, almost. This photograph may feature The Beatles in their pre-Ringo days, with the ousted Pete Best on drums, but an inspection of the group's autographs and the photo's reverse tells a different story.

Each of the principles' autographs are featured: John, Paul, George and... Ringo. No Pete Best, sadly. The photo was signed at one of Ringo's first gigs with the band, and all that anyone had at the time were photos with Best.

The result was this unique and anachronistic curiosity. It appeared in a 2011 Hollywood auction held by Philip Weiss, and exceeded its $8,000 sale estimate.

Postcards featuring  Astrid Kirchherr's early Beatles shots - click for more information


#4 Early publicity postcards photographed by Astrid Kirchherr

As mentioned above, The Beatles' early days in Hamburg are a continuing source of fascination for collectors the world over.

Seemingly a lifetime away from the later psychedelia of Sgt Pepper's, photographs captured by the young German photographer Astrid Kirchherr (also romantically involved with band member Stuart Sutcliffe) capture the band in their young 'n' savage garage rock days.

Consequently, original examples of Kirchherr's works can sell for large sums on the markets, like a set of three early publicity postcards illustrated with individual black and white, head and shoulders length portraits. It is for sale priced at £7,500 ($12,375).


Beatles signed photo

#3 A classic signed 1965 group photograph

The Beatles are today iconic enough to capture imaginations with a simple group shot, like this example taken by Robert Whitaker.

Every inch a classic image of The Beatles in their prime, this image is also a cut above the rest thanks to its extraordinarily dark and bold autographs from each of the Fab Four.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney have signed in red felt tipped pen, while George and Ringo have signed in blue felt tipped pen. The signatures date from early 1965. The piece sold for $25,000 at Iconic Memorabilia's July 1 sale.


Beatles Butcher cover

#2 The infamous banned 'Butcher Cover'

"You can sell it for $11m" once said a typically-sarcastic John Lennon of this infamous artwork. There are thought to be less than 25 sealed copies of this record in existence - and that's probably a generous estimate.

A copy appeared for sale at Heritage Auctions earlier this year. Said Garry Shrum, Consignment Director at Heritage: "To serious collectors of both vintage vinyl and Beatles memorabilia, this is pretty much the holy grail."

"This was a very smart purchase by a serious collector. There are not likely many, if even a single better copy, of this legendary album anywhere." In the end, the original banned cover for The Beatles 1966 Yesterday and Today LP - their ninth - sold for $26,300.


Beatles Mitchell photograph halo 1964

#1 And a truly iconic Beatles image...

How's this for a striking image? When auction house Christie's auctioned the discovered works of photographer Mike Mitchell back in July, this piece was among the sale's highlights.

The sale comprised of 50 lots of unpublished and never-before-seen photographs of the Beatles' first hysteria-inducing visits to America in 1964. Mitchell was just 18 years old when he took them and the images had been filed away for nearly 50 years.

The DC native shot dozens of intimate and thrilling photographs capturing the excitement of this first British Invasion. Like this example, which unsurprisingly led Christie's sale to bring $68,500.

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