Beatles Abbey Road photos come to Bloomsbury at $111,500

A set of photographs from the Beatles' iconic Abbey Road shoot has been consigned to Bloomsbury Auctions, in what is believed to be the first time a complete set has been sold at auction.

Beatles Abbey Road cover photo
Almost every object seen in the cover shot has become famous, with the white VW Beatle now on display in Germany's Volkswagon museum

The six shots, taken by Iain Macmillan - a friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's - on the morning of August 8, 1969, are rarely found at auction, with single photographs occasionally cropping up. Iain Macmillian did print a signed edition of 25, but most were sold separately.

A shot of the band walking in the opposite direction over the famous zebra crossing sold for £16,000 ($25,157) at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2012, soaring 77% past its £9,000 high estimate.

The 'reversed' image, a copy of which features in the present lot

The complete set is expected to make £50,000-70,000 on November 21 in London.

Macmillan only managed to get six shots of the Beatles on the famous crossing, as the band had chosen a busy morning for the shoot and had to avoid traffic and pedestrians to get the cover image - eventually settling for the fifth photo in the series, chosen by Paul McCartney.

Also accompanying the lot is the back cover shot, which was initially rejected after a woman walked through the frame.

"They are incredibly rare," Sarah Wheeler, head of photography at Bloomsbury Auctions told the Guardian newspaper. "I've spoken to other music dealers and no one has been able to find a complete set on the market for at least 10 years."

One of the cryptic 'clues' interpreted by fans was that Paul held his cigarette in his right hand for the shot, when he normally used his left, suggesting that a double was used

Shortly after the release of Abbey Road, rumours began circulating that numerous "clues" in the cover photo suggest that Paul McCartney had died in 1969, with a group of students publishing an article that investigated the claims.

However, it emerged that the Beatles were close to disbanding at that point, and Paul had simply retreated to Scotland with his wife Linda to decide his future, cancelling public appearances. He later parodied the farce with the 1993 live album "Paul is Live".

Paul Fraser Collectibles specialises in world-class Beatles memorabilia - see our selection.

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