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Beatles photos from first US tour fetch $360,000

July 22, 2011


The Beatles, (L-R) Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr are seen during their first tour of the U.S. in this photograph taken by Mike Mitchell and auctioned by Christie's in New York on July 20, 2011. – Reuters photo

NEW YORK: A group of pictures from the first tour of the United States by The Beatles in 1964 has been been sold at auction for $361,938, Christie's auction house said.

Wednesday's sale of 46 pictures snapped by photographer Mike Mitchell topped expectations for Christie's which had priced them at about $100,000.

Mitchell followed the Fab Four as Beatlemania was exploding across the United States, including at their first US concert at the Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964, days before their famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“The concert given at the Washington Coliseum was part of a defining moment in the Beatles' career, and it remains both an important event and a notable place in their story. And Mike Mitchell was there to capture it,” according to Christie's.

The black-and-white pictures taken by Mitchell when he was just 18 years old have been filed away for nearly half a century.

Mitchell had exceptional access to the events including the group's arrival at Union Station, the press conference preceding the performance and unrestricted, stage-front access for the entirety of the Coliseum concert.

Mitchell then snapped additional photographs when The Beatles performed at the Baltimore Civic Center on September 13, 1964.

The most sought-after photograph, in which the Beatles are seen from behind with their silhouettes backlit, was auctioned for $68,500, well above the estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.