Contract which launched Beatles' career set to fetch up to £500,000

The contract that set the Beatles on their way to superstardom is to go up for sale for the first time, and could fetch as much as £500,000.

The document - the only management contract signed by the final line-up - John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr - and manager Brian Epstein will go under the hammer at Sotheby's 'Rock & Pop' sale at the end of the month.

It was signed on 1 October 1962 - four days before the release of their debut single Love Me Do.

The agreement was made on 1 October 1962. Credit: Sotheby's/PA Wire
The contract bound the band to Brian Epstein for five years. Credit: Sotheby's/PA Wire
The contracts were co-signed by the fathers of Paul and George. Credit: Sotheby's/PA Wire

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."

Because McCartney and Harrison were under 21 at the time, their fathers are co-signatories on the contract.

Among the terms of agreement were a five-year term for Epstein as manager, as well as commission of 10% on earnings up to £400 a week, 20% between £400 and £800, and 25% for anything over that amount.