Early Beatles photographs to be auctioned

Fri May 20, 2011 4:42pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fifty lots of unpublished photographs of The Beatles' first U.S. concerts taken by a teenager in 1964 are expected to fetch about $100,000 when they are sold at auction, Christie's said on Friday.

The pristine, black-and-white photographs, which had been stored in a box for 45 years, chronicle The Beatles appearances in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. They will be sold in individual lots when they go under the hammer on July 20 in New York.

"The intimacy and up-close quality differentiates this collection from those that have followed," said Cathy Elkies, Christie's director of iconic collections.

The Fab Four performed their first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964, two days after their legendary debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Washington teenager Mike Mitchell, then 18, was on hand at Union Station when the Beatles arrived and documented the shrieking hysteria of their fans.

Mitchell, who still works as a photographer, also shot the pre-concert press conference and was positioned at the stage for the entire Coliseum show. Months later he documented the Beatles concert at the Baltimore Civic Center.

Friends encouraged him to put his little-seen photographs up for sale.

"Mike's access to the band was extraordinary and his ability to capture an emotion, thought or reaction truly superb," said Elkies.

In one striking shot being offered the band members are photographed at a news conference from behind. Each of their heads is encircled in a thin halo of light.

Christie's said the photographs were expected to have broad appeal for Beatles and rock history fans but were conservatively priced because Mitchell is not a known photographer.

The photos will go on public exhibition in June at Christie's and Grosvernor House hotel in London, followed by the New York exhibit and sale in July.

 
<p>A fan of former Beatle Paul McCartney holds a poster of The Beatles outside a hotel in Lima May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares</p>