Autograph book Please Pleases auction house bidders

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Fifty years after the release of The Beatles’ debut album – Please Please Me – Beatlemania continues to grip the saleroom of antiques auctioneers Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester.

A book of autographs including the signatures of George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney made the top price of the day at the firm’s Selected Picture and Book Sale on Friday (April 12).

The autographs were collected by a VIP chauffeur for Pan Am and TWA Airlines at Heathrow Airport, and the book also contained the signatures of The Rolling Stones, Danny Kaye, Jack Hawkins, Orson Welles, Graham Hill, Edmund Hillary, Sonny & Cher, Julie Andrews, Beryl Reid, Roy Orbison, Bing Crosby, and others.

Auctioneers had put a cautious estimate of £600 to £800 on the lot, but bidding exceeded all expectations and the book, which also contained photographs of the Fab Four returning to Heathrow after their 1963 European tour, where they were met by hundreds of screaming fans – an event deemed to signal the birth of Beatlemania – achieved £3,800.

Pictures on walls dominated the rest of the sale. Cattle Watering with Herdsman and Sheep on a Hillock in Background, a 30cm wide oil on board signed by the renowned English landscape painter Thomas Sidney Cooper, met the auctioneers’ expectations at £3,000, while Jesus and Mary at the Well, an unsigned 56cm tall oil on board of the 18th Century Continental School achieved £2,900.

Patti in Venice Twice, a 1.2m high portrait of the titular Patti bearing her breasts by the English painter John Bratby – renowned for founding the kitchen sink realism style of art that was influential in the late 1950s – achieved the fourth-highest lot price at £2,000.

And Go Bang, a study of a fox terrier with rabbit in a landscape by Frederick French, obviously appealed to the country set, with bids reaching £1,550.

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