Most Valuable Beatles Memorabilia
Nearly 60 years after the Beatles became a household name, their collection of memorabilia is still more sought after than that of any other musical group.
From handwritten "All You Need Is Love" lyrics to a sealed fan club LP, here are but a few of the most expensive Beatles memorabilia items to ever be sold at auction.
Fan Club Collectibles: The 1970 Christmas Album
Bottom line: If you were a member of the Official Beatles Fan Club in 1970 in the U.S., there's a pretty good chance you would have received this rare Christmas album — it was never available in store, making it all the more unique.
The album is a compilation of Fab Four sending Christmas greetings to their fans over the years. This still shrink-wrapped item sold for top dollar on May 21, 2022.
Tickets: The Beatles Appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'
Bottom line: A ticket from the Beatles' rehearsal for "The Ed Sullivan Show" is an incredibly rare treat — this particular item was from their rehearsal performance on the afternoon of Feb. 16, 1964.
The seller also includes supporting documents from CBS outlining the Fab Four's schedule, a photo of the boys landing in Miami after the show and the Versailles Hotel's announcement regarding their live appearance.
Single: A Quarrymen Acetate
Bottom line: In the U.K. in the late 1950s, skiffle was all the rage. It was a mix of American folk, country, jazz and blues, and many members of the first wave of British Invasion bands got their start in this genre.
On July 6, 1957, Paul McCartney (then 15) went to see The Quarrymen, led by John Lennon. He was invited to join just a few weeks later, and the rest is history. The boys covered Buddy Holly's "That Will Be The Day" on Side A and the B-Side features the Harrison/McCartney track, "In Spite Of All The Danger."
McCartney still owns the only known copy of this release.
Album: Ringo Starr's Copy of the 'White Album'
Bottom line: If you thought the "butcher" cover of "Yesterday and Today" would be the most expensive Beatles' album you would be mistaken, although it does go for a pretty penny. In fact, a copy owned by John Lennon and signed by three of the four Beatles went for $234,000 at auction in 2019.
However, Ringo Starr's copy of the group's unofficially titled "White Album" is the most expensive vinyl ever sold at auction, according to Guinness World Records. In December 2015, a first-edition copy with the category No. 0000001 was sold to an anonymous bidder.
The proceeds went to Starr and wife Barbara Bach's Lotus Foundation, a charitable organization that advances social welfare to families facing economic hardships.
Autograph: A Signed Copy of 'Double Fantasy' Owned by Mark David Chapman
Bottom line: This entry is the most macabre on the list. John Lennon signed a copy of his 1980 release, "Double Fantasy," for none other than his killer, Mark David Chapman, about five hours before he was murdered in front of his home at the Dakota.
Before killing Lennon, Chapman put the album in a planter outside of the building; it was later entered into police evidence. Not only is Lennon's autograph on the cover, but there are also police markings from the investigation on the back.
The album was purchased by an anonymous buyer in 2020.
Lyrics: 'All You Need Is Love' in John Lennon's Handwriting
Value: $1.25 million
Bottom line: Anything having to do with John Lennon outsells memorabilia from the other band members because he was taken from us so early. These three verses of "All You Need Is Love" in Lennon's handwriting were sold to an anonymous bidder in 2005, and they are the most valuable Beatles lyrics to date.
Another page of Lennon's handwritten lyrics for "A Day in the Life" sold for just over $1.2 million in 2010.
Car: John Lennon’s Rolls Royce Phantom V Limousine
Value: $2.3 million
Bottom line: The Phantom V was originally all black when John Lennon purchased it in 1964. At the time he bought it, he didn't even know how to drive. (He wouldn't get a license for at least a year after its purchase.)
After filming Richard Lester's "How I Won the War" in 1966, Lennon ordered a custom paint job for the car in the style of a Romany wagon from private coach makers, J.P. Fallon Ltd. In 1977, he needed to cover a $250,000 IRS bill and donated the Rolls to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum to pay that debt.
In 1985, Canadian billionaire Jim Pattison bought the car at auction for the listed price for his Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in South Carolina. A few years later, he donated it as a gift to British Columbia. For a while, it was displayed at the Transportation Museum of British Columbia, and it is now permanently housed at the Royal B.C. Museum in Canada.
Musical Instrument: John Lennon's J-160E Gibson
Value: $2.4 million
Bottom line: In 1962, John Lennon and George Harrison each bought a J-160E Gibson acoustic guitar. Lennon used the guitar to write "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You" and "From Me to You."
In 1963, the guitar was stolen. It resurfaced four years later in the Blue Guitar, a San Diego store where it was purchased for $175 by a young bluegrass player who frequented the shop. Two years later, he sold it for the same price to childhood friend John McCaw.
McCaw rarely played the instrument and kept it displayed on his wall or in a closet. In 2012, when he saw an article about George Harrison's guitar, he contact an expert who matched its serial number to Lennon's long-lost instrument. "It was at that point that I realized I can't keep the guitar — it's too big for me. It's not going to fit in my house anymore."
The guitar was sold at auction to an anonymous bidder in 2015.