April Mega Sale (Auction #133)
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/29/2021



When it comes to music memorabilia, most experts and advanced collectors agree that there is the Beatles…in a universe of their own…and then everyone else.


PAE is absolutely thrilled to offer the Collector Community what is universally recognized as the single most definitive and important and famous photograph taken of the Beatles in their early, pre fame days.


The previous statement is not an opinion, but a widely recognized fact. It’s our pleasure to break this historic offering down in fine detail so that everyone can fully enjoy viewing this photograph and appreciate the opportunity at hand.


This photograph was taken in October 1960 by German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr. At the time, the Beatles were nothing but a scruffy British bar band. On August 17, 1960, the Beatles arrived in Hamburg, Germany to play a 6 week residency at the converted strip club, Kaiserkeller, which by all accounts remained a seedy place frequented by sailors and prostitutes. 


At this early date, The Beatles Included Stuart Sutcliffe on bass, and their new drummer, Pete Best, who joined The Beatles just days before the band’s arrival in Hamburg.


The photograph, in Kirchherr’s trademark black and white, was taken in front of a rollercoaster at a Hamburg fairground, and produced in a massive format measuring 18 5/16" x 23 1/2". The photograph is signed by Kirchherr, who recently passed away in Hamburg, at the age of 81 in May, 2020. Most importantly, Kirchherr’s photographs are widely considered to be the first ever professional shots of the Beatles.


While Kirchherr took many photographs of The Beatles during this period, THIS PHOTOGRAPH is considered to be the most important and iconic and has appeared worldwide in literally thousands of museums and publications.


What Astrid Kirchherr says about this iconic photograph:


“It was early in the morning, because I only used daylight. So the poor guys had to get up early. They only stopped playing at 4:00 in the morning, and we met about 9:00 or 10:00. They looked quite rough, having their har combed back with grease, really looking like rock and rollers, so I thought it would suit them the most between all these wagons and steel and rust”.


What the New York Times reports about this photograph:


“One group photo in particular, showing the band standing with their instruments before an open sided truck with a roller coaster behind them, has become what Beatles historian Mark Leweisohn called “the definitive image of the group before they attained fame.”


What George Harrison said about this photograph:


"Astrid asked us if she could take some photographs of us and because we loved the idea that led to our first photo session, when she took us to the Hamburg Fairground. Astrid was totally responsible for that whole image."


What John Lennon said about their early Hamburg days:


"It was Hamburg that did it. That's where we really developed. To get the Germans going, and keep it up for twelve hours at a time, we would really have to hammer. We would never have developed as much if we'd stayed at home. I grew up in Hamburg, not Liverpool."


Kirchherr’s immense historical influence on the Beatles went far beyond photography:


While Kirchherr’s photographs of the Beatles have appeared in museums worldwide, her influence on the Beatles went FAR beyond photography. Kirchherr is widely recognized as the person who gave the Beatles their famous mop top haircuts and image … creating a cultural phenomenon that has never been equaled!


What Rolling Stone Magazine says about about Kirchherr’s influence on the Beatles:


“Astrid Kirchherr, who died on My 15th at age 81, was more than just a photographer whose path crossed that of the Beatles at a crucial moment. As a friend to the band, she talked them into the mop-top haircuts favored by her art school friends. It’s fair to say that Kirchherr helped invent the entire idea of the Beatles.”


What George Harrison said about Kirchherr’s influence:


“Astrid was the one who influenced our image more than anyone else.”


Summary: A historic offering of a historic moment in Time.


Kirchherr’s recent passing, less than a year ago in May 2020, resulted in literally thousands of news stories. While Kirchherr will always be remembered for taking the very first professional photos of the Beatles, it is THIS PARTICULAR PHOTOGRAPH offered here, that is featured in each and every obituary.


For the last 13 years, PAE has advised collectors that the FIRST of any collectible is always the most sought after and historically important. This is your opportunity to acquire an ultra rare, LARGE FORMAT SIGNED specimen of the most famous photo, from the FIRST and most historically important photoshoot, of the most influential band in history.


Our archives were able to uncover just one other auction offering of this signed, large format photograph that realized $4750 five and a half years ago on 9/20/15. Although it’s common knowledge that the value of collectibles has literally exploded since 2015, we conservatively estimate this lot at $3,500-$7,000.


Dimensions - 18 5/16" x 23 1/2”


This lot is not graded. 100% Original with no restoration. View the detailed high res photo of this lot. Click on the thumbnail photo, to see an enlarged photo. Click a second time on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the enlarged photo. A super high res image with every millimeter will now be clearly displayed. For a personalized eyewitness examination call 410-464-6180, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm eastern.


*A 20% Buyers Premium will be added to the final hammer price of this lot.*

1960-The Beatles-The First & Famous Photograph-MAJOR MUSEUM MASTERPIECE SIGNED BY ASTRID KIRCHHERR! Not Graded1960-The Beatles-The First & Famous Photograph-MAJOR MUSEUM MASTERPIECE SIGNED BY ASTRID KIRCHHERR! Not Graded
1960-The Beatles-The First & Famous Photograph-MAJOR MUSEUM MASTERPIECE SIGNED BY ASTRID KIRCHHERR! Not Graded
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium.: $5,400
Number Bids: 26
Auction closed on Thursday, April 29, 2021.
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