Historic Beatles contract auctions for $553,000

A historic contract the Beatles signed with manager Brian Epstein has sold for £365,000 ($553,000) this afternoon.

Featuring the signatures of Epstein and all four Beatles, it sold at Sotheby's Rock & Pop auction in London.

Beatles contract
Brian Epstein received a large chunk of the Beatles' earnings

The October 1962 document - estimated at up to £500,000 ($763,012) - tied the two parties together for the next five years. It was a partnership that changed the world.

Epstein was instrumental in creating the Beatles phenomenon. He won the band its first recording contract, with EMI's Parlophone, and turned the band from scruffy rockers in leathers to the clean cut boys in suits that the world came to love.

It is also the first Beatles contract to feature the signature of Ringo Starr - a key factor in driving up the price. Ringo had joined the band in August.

"Perhaps the band could have found a cheaper manager, but they would never have found anyone who would commit to The Beatles with the fervency of Epstein," explains Sotheby's.

"With the signing of this contract, Ringo newly in place on the drums, and their first recordings under their belt, The Beatles were ready to take on the world."

The contract saw Epstein receive 10% on the Beatles earnings of up to £400 a week, 20% between £400 and £800. Above £800 a week, Epstein would accrue 25%.

The Beatles' first recording contract, signed in Hamburg in 1961, made $93,750 last week.

It saw the band, then known as "the Beat Brothers", provide backing to Tony Sheridan on My Bonnie.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a stunning range of Beatles memorabilia for sale.

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