Still-sealed, first-state Butcher Cover heads to auction

By Susan Sliwicki

If you’ve got $15,000 kicking around, you’ve got enough to place the opening bid on still-sealed, first-state Beatles Butcher Cover on the block at Heritage Auction Galleries this week.

Beatles Butcher Cover

A still-sealed, first-state Beatles butcher cover is expected to bring $30,000 or more at auction.

The firm’s 2011 February Beverly Hill Signature Music & Entertainment Auction closes in two phases, according to lot number. Session 1 closes at 3 p.m. central Friday, Feb. 18; Session 2 closes at noon Saturday, Feb. 19.

“This isn’t just a nice copy, as rare as that would be — it’s still factory-sealed and easily the finest copy we’ve ever seen,” the lot’s description reads. Heritage offered the now-famous “Livingston Copy” in 2006 that sold for more than $38,000. This copy, which includes three “recall letters” documenting the history of the cover, is expected to bring $30,000 or more.

The copy of “Yesterday and Today” comes with a letter from Beatles expert Perry Cox, who also declares that it’s the finest copy he’s ever seen.

Heritage is offering a handful of other records and related recording displays, including Beatles framed displays featuring the stamper and single for “Thank You Girl” and “Twist and Shout” (each estimated at $2,500+); Elvis Presley’s framed personal copy of “Elvis’ Christmas Album” (estimated value $2,500+); an experimental picture disc for “Elvis Recorded Live at Madison Square Garden” (estimated value $1,200+); a 14-disc boxed set of Mobile Fidelity’s “The Beatles: The Collection” (estimated value $1,000+).

Leading the instrument offerings is a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard cherry sunburst electric guitar. It was marked as a factory second, probably due to an odd bindlng splice on the treble side of the neck at the first fret, according to the catalog. Complete with its original hardshell case, the guitar has an estimated value of  $100,000+. By mid-day Wednesday, bids had exceeded $75,000.

Other instruments include an unrestored rare 1931 Martin orchestra model acoustic guitar (estimated value $12,000+ but already drawing bids of $16,000); a good condition 1932 Martin shaded acoustic guitar ($4,000+, but bid at $12,500); a 1959 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst electric guitar ($18,000+); and a 1961 Rickenbacker 4001 Fireglo solid-body electric bass guitar ($4,000+, with bidding already at $7,000 by mid-day Feb. 16).

Fans of The King have plenty to choose from, too. An Elvis Presley-commissioned “Ten Outstanding Young Men of America award watch with an autographed program book and photo is being offered. Elvis and nine other men under 35 were honored by the United States Jaycees in 1970; the watches were customized by Memphis jeweler Harry Levitch. Estimated value: $18,000+. Also on the block: Elvis’ owned and worn black star sapphire ring ($15,000+).

On the Fab Four front, a Beatles band-signed promotional photo from “A Hard Day’s Night” is expected to bring $10,000 or more; bidding on that lot as of mid-day Wednesday had already reached $16,000. there are a few dozen lots including movie memorabilia, performance posters, handbills and ticket stubs and a Paul McCartney-signed Hofner bass guitar ($3,000+).

For more information or to check out lots that interest you, visit

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