Beatles for sale: Contract expected to fetch £500,000


The contract that launched The Beatles' career could fetch up to half a million pounds when it goes on sale for the first time.

The document will be up for grabs on September 29 at Sotheby's "Rock & Pop" sale. 

It is the only management contract signed by the final Beatles line-up (John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) and their manager Brian Epstein.

It was signed by them all on October 1 1962, just four days ahead of the release of their first single Love Me Do.

Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby's specialist in books and manuscripts, said: "Without this contract, and the relationship it represents, it seems inconceivable that the Beatles could have achieved all that they did: it took more than inspired musicianship and song-writing to remake popular music.

"The presentation, direction, and internal harmony of the Beatles all owed a huge amount to Brian Epstein. He was, as Paul McCartney has acknowledged, the Fifth Beatle."

Epstein died from an accidental overdose in August 1967. 

Prior to this contract, the band, which then included Pete Best as drummer instead of Ringo Starr, had signed a contract with Epstein.

But following Best's replacement with Starr, they then drafted and signed the new contract. 

At the time of signing, both McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so their fathers acted as co-signatories.

A few interesting terms of agreement in the contract included Epstein being appointed manager for five years.

He would receive 10% commission on their earnings up to £400 a week, 20% between £400 and £800, and 25% for anything more than that which they earned. 

They also added a clause that stated members of the band could be kicked out "should two or more of them desire to remove one or more of the other Artists ... with the consent in writing of the Manager."