$105,000 for Beatles contract

The first recording contract signed by The Beatles for the My Bonnie session in Hamburg in 1961.
The first recording contract signed by The Beatles for the My Bonnie session in Hamburg in 1961. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • The first recording contract signed by The Beatles, which set the career course for the band, was sold at a New York auction last Saturday for a hammer price of US$75,000 (S$105,000).

The future Fab Four signed the six-page contract in 1961 in Germany, where their small club shows in Hamburg resulted in their first recorded single, My Bonnie, a modern version of a children's song.

The song, under the band name Tony Sheridan And The Beat Brothers because the producer doubted The Beatles would work in the German market, never became a hit but drew enough requests in the band's hometown of Liverpool that it caught the attention of local record store owner Brian Epstein.

He signed on to become the band's manager and the rest is history.

"Had they not spent this time in Hamburg, they may not have become the musical force that they did. And had they not recorded My Bonnie, they may never have come to the attention of Brian Epstein," said Mr Dean Harmeyer, consignment director at Heritage Auctions. which sold the contract and other Beatles memorabilia.

The contract was picked up online by an anonymous bidder for US$93,750, with buyer's premium. It was placed on auction by the estate of German Beatles collector Uwe Blaschke.

The 1962 contract the band signed with Epstein goes on auction in London on Sept 29, with an estimated price of £500,000 (S$1 million).

Meanwhile, an illustrated manual for the Wing Chun style of martial arts, which the late Bruce Lee used to create his own style of gongfu, was sold in London for £52,000, the Daily Mail reported.

Lee used the booklet to teach his students when he moved from Hong Kong to Seattle in 1959 to teach.

Born Lee Jun Fan, he called his style Jun Fan Gung Fu.

He later become a superstar, with films such as Fist Of Fury (1972) and Way Of The Dragon (1972), but died of a cerebral oedema in 1973 at the age of 32.

"The interesting thing (about the book) is that Lee has annotated the pages with his own notes in English detailing his tweaks and variations on the moves," said spokesman Lydia Wilkinson of London's Bloomsbury Auctions.

Lee gave it to his friend and assistant instructor Taky Kimura, who continued to teach the art form after the star's death.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2015, with the headline '$105,000 for Beatles contract'. Print Edition | Subscribe