Beatles' anti-segregation contract sells for $23,000

Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:29pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Beatles contract for a 1965 California concert that reveals that the Fab Four refused to play before a segregated audience has sold for $23,033 -- more than four times its estimated price .

The contract, which was signed by the Liverpool group's manager, Brian Epstein, specified that they "not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience" for their August 31, 1965, show at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.

It sold far above the pre-auction estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 at a Los Angeles auction held on Tuesday by Nate D. Sanders. The buyer was not disclosed.

The Cow Palace concert was part of the Beatles' third major tour of the United States. Signed on March 24, 1965, the contract guaranteed the band $40,000 against gross box office receipts of more than $77,000.

In addition to the desegregation requirement, the agreement called for at least 150 uniformed police officers for protection and a special drumming platform for Ringo.

It followed a public stand the Beatles took in 1964, during their first American tour, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band did take the stage for that show.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney; Editing by Jill Serjeant)