This original painting done collaboratively by all four Beatles in Tokyo, Japan, in 1966 sold for $155,250, making it the top lot in a huge multi-estate sale held Sept. 13-15 at Philip Weiss Auctions that featured several Beatles-related items.
OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” was all an exhausted Philip Weiss could say at the conclusion of a huge multi-estate sale held Sept. 13-15 at Philip Weiss Auctions, at which Beatles items fetched top dollars and proved once again the lads from Liverpool still reign supreme with collectors. The top lot was a painting done collaboratively by all four boys in 1966 in Japan. It fetched $155,250.
The Beatles visited Japan only once—in 1966—and for exactly 100 hours. They were bored, holed up in their VIP suite in Tokyo’s Hilton Hotel, so to pass the time they were given a 30-inch by 40-inch paper and some paints and told to have some fun (either by the Japanese promoter of the tour or Brian Epstein, the group’s manager). The result was “Images of a Woman.”
The paper was placed on a table, with a lamp in the center. Working by the light of the lamp, each Beatle decorated his quarter of the canvas with oil paints and watercolors. Paul’s had a symmetrical, psychedelic feel; John’s had a dark center, surrounded by thick oils; George’s was large and colorful; Ringo’s was cartoon-like. The white center was signed by all The Beatles.
A 1964- vintage photograph taken by Robert Whitaker and signed by all four Beatles realized $22,200.
When done, the group presented the painting as a gift to Tetsuaburo Shimoyama, the Beatles’ fan club president in Japan. It has changed hands a few times over the years, and the consignor for this auction was a collector from Japan.
“This was the Holy Grail of Beatles collectibles,” Weiss said, “a true one-of-a-kind piece, one that all four Beatles had a hand in.”
The painting was the headliner in an active three-day event that saw 1,460 lots come up for bid and grossed nearly $800,000. Between 125 and 150 people attended the auction live, while another 1,200-1,500 registered to bid online, through Proxibid.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bidding was also brisk. “I wish all my auctions were like this,” Weiss said.
Following are additional highlights from the sale (all prices quoted include a 13-percent buyer’s premium):
• A vintage 1964 photograph signed by all four of The Beatles, taken by Robert Whitaker and showing the group holding teacups, soared to $22,200. The 6-inch by 8-inch photo was similar to the pose struck during the recording session for the “Beatles ’65” album cover, was signed by all four Beatles in blue felt tip pen, and came with a letter of authenticity.
• A circa-1963 light tan album page signed by Beatles George Harrison (“To Roger, best wishes from the Beatles”) and John Lennon (using a lighter ball point pen), went for $10,925. Also, the gold award presented by the RIAA to The Beatles and their label, Apple Records, for sales of more than a million units for the record “Hey Jude,” in a gold-painted frame, made $2,400.
• Two John Lennon-related lots found new homes. One was the late musician’s Mason & Hamlin walnut pump organ, made circa 1880-1890 and measuring about 44 inches by 44 inches. The organ was missing two keys and had some damage, but still brought $9,488. The other was a John Lennon-signed Apple publicity still (“To Cathy, Love John Lennon ’74”). It rose to $4,600.
• The Beatles weren’t the only musicians represented in the sale. An original, one-of-a-kind watercolor collage painting by progressive rocker Frank Zappa, signed lower right “FZ” and depicting a man playing the drums with the words “Drum Shop” in the top right corner, garnered $10,925. The painting’s provenance was explored on the popular PBS series “History Detectives.”
This original watercolor collage painting done by the late progressive rocker Frank Zappa sold for $10,925.
This life preserver ring recovered the day after the sinking of the Andrea Doria in 1956 made $7,188.
• An original life preserver ring recovered the day after the sinking of the ocean liner Andrea Doria (of the Italian Line) in 1956 hammered for $7,188. The Andrea Doria sank off the coast of Nantucket Island, Mass., when it collided with another ship, the MS Stockholm (of the Swedish American Line). To this day, it is one of history’s most infamous maritime disasters.
• A probable charcoal on paper drawing by the renowned illustrator Gil Elvgren, of a lady holding a bouquet of roses and wearing a sash that reads “Miss Sylvania,” sailed past its pre-auction estimate of $300-$500 to knock down at $3,105. The drawing, 17 ½ inches by 22 inches and signed by Elvgren on the bottom right edge, had some light foxing stains and a few creases.
A charcoal of paper drawing by the renowned illustrator Gil Elvgren, “Miss Scarlet,” changed hands for $3,105.
• A fine and rare Bassett Lowke 3½-inch-gauge model toy train of the unique Great Western Pacific class “Adamas” No. 60 and tender, 52½ inches long by 6 inches wide by 9 inches tall, chugged away for $4,255; and an incredible German cast-iron steam engine—an extremely well done piece and set on a 21 inch by 18½ inch base—changed hands for $2,300.
For more information about this auction, call 516.594.0731, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Philip Weiss Auctions website.
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