Beyond Vinyl: Beatles reel fetches $5893

by  Peter Lindblad

Going for $5,893, an authentic three-song Abbey Road recording reel was the star of Backstage Auction’s recent The Rockin’ Hot Summer Auction.

Received by auction consignor Denny Somach after the “Beatles At Abbey Road” exhibition July through September in 1983, the 10-inch reel (recorded at 7 1/2 IPS) is a dub made direct from the original masters and was made to be played at the exhibition.

“It was not an authentic 1960s reel, but it was an authentic Abbey Road recording reel,” says Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions. “It’s not something that’s widely available, and while it only has three songs on it, all three are interesting outtakes. It did better than we expected.”

Somach received the reel from one of the Abbey Road Studio engineers.

Included on the reel are: “Day In The Life” (from acetate, no orchestra, with a different middle section); “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (Take 1, Aug. 16, 1968); and “All You Need Is Love” (Live broadcast from Abbey Road, June 25, 1967).

This item was one of 50 lots of Beatles items included in the online auction, which was held June 21-28.

Another Beatles-related piece that drew strong interest was an exceedingly rare 1972 8-inch one-sided acetate of Wings’ stereo version of “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” The acetate realized a price of $287.50.

Featuring a hand-typed label, the acetate is in pristine condition, according to Backstage Auctions.

Wings’ version of the traditional nursery rhyme was originally said to have been recorded in response to the BBC’s banning of the group’s previous single, the politically charged “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” Paul McCartney would deny this later.

McCartney claimed that record logs showed that the song was recorded before “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” had been banned by the BBC.

Featuring Wings guitarist Henry McCullough playing mandolin and the McCartney children singing on the chorus, Wings’ “Mary Had A Little Lamb” went Top 10 in the U.K. Interestingly, the acetate version runs four seconds shorter than the final mix version, which has a runtime of 3:34.

Among the other lots was a Jackson 5/Michael Jackson picture-disc lot that realized $277.81. Thought to be among the rarest releases in the Jackson 5/Michael Jackson family discography, the lot contained a still-sealed copy of 1977’s Goin’ Places. Secondly, the lot also offered a rare U.K. pressing of Michael Jackson’s 1983 mega-selling Thriller album. Both picture discs were said to be in immaculate condition, according to Backstage Auctions.

In the last days of the auction, Michael Jackson, of course, died from an apparent heart attack.

Not surprisingly, the price realized for the Jackson lot went much higher than anticipated. Initially, van Gool expected the lot to go for between $100 and $125.

“Essentially, it sold for close to three times its value,” says van Gool.

Another lot of Jackson 7-inch singles also did well, selling for around $200, which was double, and close to triple, original estimates, according to van Gool. “The results were clearly affected by his passing,” says van Gool.

From the memorabilia offerings, a Rolling Stones 1999 “No Security” lenticular brought in $575. The 14 x 14-inch piece is purported to be incredibly rare. It comes from the Stones’ 1999 “No Security” North American Tour.

As the story goes, only six prototypes were made. They remained under license, awaiting final approval. That approval was never granted, the reason being that production costs were too high.

According to Backstage Auctions, lenticulars such as this one have become increasingly popular with collectors in recent years. Big prices have been realized for similar pieces related to Cream’s Disraeli Gears and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s.

Another highlight from the auction was a Gibson Epiphone guitar signed by the band Cheap Trick. It went for $503.57.

The guitar was signed with a silver marker by three members of Cheap Trick: Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Peterson.

Lastly, of the 60 lots of vintage music magazines that were up for bidding, all but five were bought. Most of the interest was directed at vintage issues of popular titles like Rolling Stone and Circus.

“Some lots did quite well, enjoying some frantic bidding,” says van Gool.

With The Rockin’ Hot Summer Auction done, Backstage Auctions is now preparing for its upcoming 16 Magazine Pop Culture Auction slated for late this summer and early fall. Going up for auction is the collection of former 16 magazine editors Randi Reisfeld and Danny Fields, also the magazine’s ex-photographer.

The collection features photos, interview tapes, old issues of 16 magazine and more.

We’ll have a preview of the auction in the next edition of Goldmine.

by  Peter Lindblad

One thought on “Beyond Vinyl: Beatles reel fetches $5893

  1. Hi I recently came across a recording of the Beatles on a 7inch reel Scotch magnetic tape(6.35mm x 540m) on the outer part of the reel is written “Beatles analysis center Beatles 4608” could you tell me anything about this or refer me to someone that could? Thank you

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