Sunday 22 April 2018

Teenager’s rare Beatles photos of first US tour sell for £250,000 at auction

The negatives sat for decades in a basement.

Paul McCartney (left) and John Lennon (Mike Mitchell/Omega Auctions)
Paul McCartney (left) and John Lennon (Mike Mitchell/Omega Auctions)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

A teenage photographer’s shots of The Beatles’ first US concerts have sold for £253,000 at auction.

Mike Mitchell was 18 when he snapped hundreds of never before seen photographs of the band’s performances at the Washington Coliseum and the Baltimore Civic Centre in 1964.

He also attended a press conference ahead of the Washington performance – their first in the US – and the band’s arrival at Union Station.

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(Mike Mitchell/Omega Auctions)

The negatives, taken only with ambient light since Mitchell had no flash, sat for decades in his basement until they were fully realised as luminous records with the emergence of digital technology.

The complete archive is made up of more than 400 negatives from the two concerts – 46 of which were seen for the first time in 2011 when they were digitally restored as high quality prints and sold at a Christie’s auction in New York for an accumulated 362,000 US dollars (£224,000).

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(Mike Mitchell/Omega Auctions)

The entire collection – including the negatives and copyright of those sold in New York – were sold at a Beatles auction in Merseyside on Saturday.

Apart from the 46 images sold in 2011, the remainder have never been seen.

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather labelled the collection an “incredible archive”.

A 1984 black Mercedes once owned by George Harrison sold for £43,200 at the Omega auction, while a hotel directory signed by all four of The Beatles was snapped up for £9,840.

Press Association

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