Two handwritten Beatles setlists from band’s early days going up for auction

The setlists are expected to go for anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000

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Two handwritten setlists from the early days of The Beatles are officially going under the hammer courtesy of Bonhams auction house.

The setlists, among only eight believed to still be in existence, are from gigs the band played in 1960 and 1963. The former, written by Paul McCartney, is from the band’s gig at Liscard’s Grosvenor Ballroom shortly before changing their name from The Silver Beetles to The Beatles. McCartney was the band’s drummer at the time.

The latter, meanwhile, comes from the first of two sets the band played at the Majestic Ballroom in Luton. It is also written by McCartney: it’s written in capital letters as opposed to the 1960’s setlist, which was penned in cursive. By this point, the band’s classic lineup had been established and their debut album, Please Please Me, had been released.


The setlists are expected to go for anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000 when they go under the hammer on October 28.

Bonhams’ Senior Specialist of Music for their Popular Culture department, Howard Kramer, explained the significance of both setlists in a statement to Rolling Stone.

“At this point, the Beatles were about to become a band in the truest sense,” he said of the 1960 setlist. “Pete Best had yet to join the band and the first Hamburg engagement was about two months out. Pretty soon, there was no looking back.”

Kramer also noted the rarity of the setlists. “There’s very few tangible, physical items directly used by the band that become available to the public,” he said. “The Beatles are still the most collectible music group, and these two documents reveal their inner workings.”

Other Beatles memorabilia that has recently gone under the hammer include letters, work permits and other documentation from the Fab Four’s time in Hamburg, as well as a letter handwritten by Macca jovially settling a long-standing ‘debt’ over a blanket.

In other Beatles news, the docuseries McCartney 3,2,1 will air in the UK on Disney+ later this month. In the six-episode series, McCartney will break down his career with the super producer Rick Rubin.

Originally published on NME

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