‘The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell’ Realizes $361,938

The top lot of the “The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell” sale was this gelatin silver print, numbered 1 of 1, which sold for $68,500.

NEW YORK – All 46 lots of unpublished and never-before-seen photographs of the Beatles’ first hysteria-inducing visits to America in 1964, taken by a teenager, sold at auction at Christie’s on July 20, with the top lot garnering nearly 22 times the original high estimate.

The photos, taken by photographer Mike Mitchell when he was just 18 years old, have been filed away for nearly 50 years. The complete rediscovered collection was expected to realize in the region of $100,000 in the sale titled “The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell.” When all the bidding was over, the total was $361.938.

The top lot of the sale was the final photograph offered, a silhouette of the Fab Four, with right-side profiles of John Lennon and Ringo Starr. It was taken Feb. 11, 1964, when the Beatles performed their first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum. A gelatin silver print, measuring 16 x 16 ¼ inches and numbers 1 of 1, was estimated to bring between $2,000 and $3,000 but realized $68,500.

All 46 photos were similarly numbered.

The collection included dozens of intimate photographs capturing the excitement of the first British Invasion. Mitchell had exceptional access to the events, including their arrival at Union Station, the press conference preceding the performance and unrestricted, stage-front access for the entirety of the historic Coliseum concert. Mitchell then snapped additional photographs when they performed during their first U.S. concert tour at the Baltimore Civic Center on Sept. 13, 1964.


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