Finest Beatles signed baseball to feature in Heritage sports auction

The finest known example of a Beatles signed baseball provides one of the most fascinating lots in Heritage Auctions' February 23-24 New York Sports Auction.

Estimates have not yet been given for items in the sale, although the baseball can expect strong results due to its intriguing history as part of the Beatles' first US tour. Another baseball signed by the band, in 1965, was sold by Heritage Auctions for $65,725 in May 2012.

Beatles signed baseball finest
The ball is signed by a Beatle on each of the four sides, and is in immaculate condition

The present lot was signed at the band's Kansas City show in 1964, which was not originally part of the itinerary for the monumental tour. However, Charlie O Finley, the Kansas City Athletics owner and promoter, coaxed the Beatles into one more show at the baseball team's Municipal Stadium, by offering the highest amount ever paid for a single performance.

The events are recorded by music executive and friend of the band Neil Aspinall in the 1995 documentary series, The Beatles Anthology:

"Brian [Epstein] had booked a 35-gig tour and they knew what they were doing and were committed to that. But to shove one more show in the middle was another story. So, the Beatles kept saying 'no', and the money kept going up. They agreed to do it in the end. The offer started at $60,000 and finally went to $150,000."

The ball was signed for one of the team's players, who was on the road at the time. He entrusted a stadium worker with the task of having the ball autographed by the band as a memento for his girlfriend. It has been consigned by the sister of this lucky recipient.

All of the signatures are graded 8/10, except for Paul McCartney's, which is slightly lighter and graded 7/10. Heritage Auctions is particularly confident in the ball's fantastic state of preservation and invites bidders to view the enlarged images to find any defects.

Also featuring in the sale will be baseball star Curt Schilling's bloody sock from game two of the 2004 World Series.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has sourced some of the finest Beatles memorabilia on the current market, including a signed LP cover of A Hard Day's Night, one of the rarest signed Beatles albums, with less than 8-10 known to exist.

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