On Sept. 19, Heritage Auctions will sell The Uwe Blaschke Beatles Collection which is highlighting with The First Recording Contract Signed By The Beatles, For The “My Bonnie” Session (Germany, 1961). Unique memorabilia is expected to sell for $150,000. This extraordinary contract is one of the most important Beatles documents ever to be offered at auction – and perhaps the most historically important Beatles document in existence. Here is the very first recording contract signed by the group in June 1961, for the session which produced the “My Bonnie” single release. That recording would lead the still-struggling Beatles to Brian Epstein, through whose management they would achieve unprecedented worldwide success.
Written in German, six pages total, and with original signatures by the Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and original drummer Pete Best – this is one of perhaps three copies executed between the group and the German music producer Bert Kaempfert. As was the practice at the time, the contract was typed onto standard weight paper with onion-skin paper beneath, forming an immediate copy of the top sheet. With multiple identical copies on hand, the parties to the agreement could sign all, so that original signatures would be affixed to each. This document is on onion-skin, and with original signatures in blue fountain pen by James Paul McCartney, and in blue ballpoint by J.W. Lennon, George Harrison, and Peter Best. This is an official legal copy of the contract and would have been executed at the same time as the top copy – the whereabouts of which are unconfirmed. This copy came to Uwe Blaschke through a private purchase in 2001.
Blaschke’s collection tells the Beatles’ story through original photographs, documents, autographs and memorabilia. A noted Beatle expert and historian, Blaschke amassed one of the finest collections of Beatles material in Europe, if not the world, much of which was displayed at a dedicated Beatles museum in Hamburg, Germany. The 300+ lot collection covers the entire career of the group, but is especially notable for the inclusion of many items related to the time the Beatles spent in Hamburg from 1960-62, performing in the city’s vibrant nightclubs and honing their distinctive sound which would soon win the world over.