A rare Beatles record – a 10-inch "Till There Was You" and "Hello Little Girl" inscribed with the handwriting of legendary manager Brian Epstein – is hitting the auction block. The acetate disc, credited to "Paul McCartney & the Beatles" and believed to be the band's first-ever pressing, is expected to bring over $13,000 at the Omega Auctions sale on March 22nd in Warrington, U.K., the BBC reports.
The record was pressed at the HMV record store on London's Oxford Street and subsequently presented by Epstein to producer George Martin at EMI in an attempt to secure the Beatles a recording deal. The disc was later given to Les Maguire, keyboardist of Gerry and the Pacemakers, by Epstein in 1963, after Martin had returned it to him.
Maguire, 74, has kept the record for over five decades and described the item as a "special piece" and a "one-off." "It's no good to me so I've given it to my granddaughter, who is hoping to buy a house after passing her accountancy exams," he told the BBC. "I hope it goes for a good price."
The record – which features Epstein's charming misspelling "Hullo Little Girl" – is considered an important piece of Beatles memorabilia. Ian Shirley, editor of Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide, described it as a "Holy Grail item." In his 2013 book Tune In, band historian Mark Lewisohn writes that the disc is "enhanced by Brian Epstein's handwriting on the labels, and the recognition of what it led to." In 1962, the Beatles signed with EMI before conquering the globe with their iconic string of albums and singles.
The Omega Auction will be broadcast live online to attract worldwide bidding. While the record should bring a hefty price tag, the estimates are significantly less than the $35,000 spent in February on a "significant" lock of John Lennon's hair.