1. ITV Report

Beatles autograph left in cupboard for years up for auction

The Beatles autograph on a scrap of paper could now fetch thousands at auction Credit: Hansons

A scrap of paper left in a cupboard for years that contains the signatures and kisses from the Beatles right before they became famous, could now fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

The unnamed owner, who's now a retired secretary, met the band as a teenager at a gig in Shropshire on January 19th, 1963, and asked the-then four unknown young men to sign a scrap of paper.

It was the same night the Fab Four appeared on Saturday night ITV show "Thank Your Lucky Stars", an appearance which changed their fortunes.

The scrap of paper has been left in a cupboard for the last 56 years - and is now something a Beatles fan will be keen on owning. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr have since made music history as The Beatles.

The autograph was signed just after they released "Please Please Me' as a single. But the weather played a big part in stopping fans turning up for their gig - it was during one of the worst British winters on record and hardly anyone turned up to see the band perform.

The Beatles with singer Lill Babs Credit: Hansons

"I went to see them on a bitterly cold night in January, 1963. I was living in Ellesmere, Shropshire, at the time. I was only 16 and still at school but I was allowed out with a group of friends as we knew the backing group.

The Beatles were playing at the Town Hall Ballroom in Whitchurch. But hardly anyone was there. The room was pretty empty. There was no atmosphere.

I’d heard of The Beatles but they weren’t well-known at the time. I think the cold kept people away too. There was snow on the ground and the temperatures were sub-zero.Because there was so few people there, it was quite relaxed and we got to chat to The Beatles and ask for autographs. We spent about 15 minutes with them.

I remember John Lennon plonking away on the piano after the gig. At the time I didn’t even know Ringo Starr’s name. They were all really nice to us".

– Unnamed autograph seller
The signatures and kisses from the Fab Four on the now-prized autograph Credit: Hansons

"I asked Paul McCartney for his autograph and, as he wrote it, he said out loud, ‘to the most beautiful girl in the world, with all my love and affection’. I expect he said that to all the girls. He was only joking but it’s been my claim to fame ever since !

It was just before The Beatles made it big. On the same day they performed "Please Please Me" on ITV’s "Thank Your Lucky Stars". I saw them perform later on in the 60's but by then they were huge.I framed the autographs and put them away in a cupboard for 56 years. I was worried the names would fade if I left them in the light.

I wasn’t sure how much the autographs were worth. I thought they might go down in value the longer I kept them.”

– Unnamed autograph seller
Claire Howell, music memorabilia specialist at Hansons Credit: Hansons

"It’s unusual to see an authentic set of full Beatles autographs from their early days. Ringo Starr only joined the band in 1962 following their formation in Liverpool in 1960. Our vendor got to see the band just before they became worldwide hot property. Their single Please Please Me was released in the UK on January 11, 1963 during one of the worst winters in British history.

On January 19 – the day of the Whitchurch gig - most of the population were snowed-in at home watching the Beatles perform on Thank Your Lucky Stars. That national exposure led to them being booked for a series of national tours.

The song got plenty of radio airtime and they soon made it to number one in the charts. On February 11, 1963, less than a month after our vendor went to that gig, the Beatles recorded their debut LP, Please Please Me. By 1964 the band were international stars.

I think she can thank her lucky stars that she had the chance to meet them just before they became global superstars.”

– Claire Howell, music memorabilia specialist at Hansons

The Beatles autographs will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall on October 22nd, with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.