NEW YORK, NY—
Fifty silver gelatin prints from the Beatles’ first U.S. concert will be individually auctioned off by Christie’s New York auction house—and are expected to net upwards of $100,000 in total sales.
The 47-year-old photos are courtesy of Mike Mitchell, who was granted a press pass from the small—now defunct—D.C. magazine he had been working for to the February 11, 1964 event at the Washington Coliseum. The concert took place just two days after the Fab Four’s iconic appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in New York, an event that is viewed as one of the defining pop culture moments of the last 100 years. Because of very lax security, the then 18-year old Mitchell was able to get right up to the stage—and at one point on it—to get some unbelievable shots of the band.
Mitchell also has shots from the concert at the Baltimore Civic Center in September of the same year. He said the negatives had been sitting in a box in his basement all these years, and finally decided to make the prints using digital technology, which he says will do much more justice to capturing the feel of the historic event better than any traditional darkroom ever could.
And the photos do look spectacular, with the highlight appearing to be a backlit shot of the band with halos around their head that was shot during their pre-show press call. Christie’s pop culture consultant, Simeon Lipman, said he expects the prints to fetch far more than anticipated, due to the fact that they are very good quality, but more so because despite the band’s massive popularity, so few photos of these gigs exist. Given the fact that Beatle’s fanatics will gobble up anything with the lads’ images on it, these are sure to be a very lucrative grab.