By Susan Sliwicki
George Harrison's black leather jacket, worn on stage during numerous early 1960s Beatles appearances, earned top lot honors at Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia sale Dec. 12, 2012.
The jacket, which is one of the most important items of Beatles clothing ever to come onto the market, brought a whopping $177,686 (£110,450). That lot alone constituted nearly 20 percent of the total $1,004,860 sale (£624,619), which sold 86 percent by lot value.
Bidders in the saleroom and on the phone competed fiercely for the jacket, which was one several lots offered from the George Harrison Collection. The collection, which has never been available to the general public, was gifted by George Harrison to his brother, Harry, and other members of the family.
A pair of George’s Beatle boots far exceeded expectations, selling for $98,535, roughly five times more than the pre-sale estimate of $19,300-$24,100. The boots are synonymous with the band’s style at the height of Beatlemania in 1964. Harrison can be clearly seen wearing an identical pair during the filming of the 1964 movie “A Hard Day’s Night.”
“The sale represented some of the most important pieces of Beatles memorabilia ever seen at auction, and the high prices go to show that the market for these rare items has never been stronger,” said Stephanie Connell, head of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams.
Rounding out the Top 10 lots were:
•The bright orange, western-style shirt Harrison wore in 1971’s landmark The Concert for Bangladesh benefit: $38,207.80.
•The guitar used by Paul McCartney during the 1950s as a member of The Quarry Men, with a signed letter of provenance from McCartney: $69,578.40.
• A Hofner bass guitar autographed by Paul McCartney: $24,131.20,
•A rare autographed copy of the 1963 booklet “The Beatles”: $18,098.40.
• A 1920s Egyptian netted scarf with silvered metal thread embellishment and a silvered metal necklace with a coral-colored inlay, both attributed to Cream’s Eric Clapton: $12,065.60 each.
• A black Edwardian fitted jacket worn by drummer Ginger Baker in Cream publicity photos: $12,065.60.
•An autographed concert ticket for The Beatles’ Grosevenor, Norwich concert held May 17, 1963: $12,065.60.