Beatles mania set to take over Barnes auction in Norwich

Auctioneer Gary Barnes will be selling a very rare Beatles autograph set during his auction in Thorpe.

Photo by Simon Finlay Auctioneer Gary Barnes will be selling a very rare Beatles autograph set during his auction in Thorpe. Photo by Simon Finlay

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
11:40 AM

Beatles mania is set to take over an auction in Thorpe St Andrew today when rare autographs of the Fab Four go under the hammer.

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Auctioneer Gary Barnes will be selling a very rare Beatles autograph set during his auction in Thorpe.

Photo by Simon FinlayAuctioneer Gary Barnes will be selling a very rare Beatles autograph set during his auction in Thorpe. Photo by Simon Finlay

Diehard fans are expected to travel to the Barnes auction in the village hall, Yarmouth Road, from a wide area of the country.

Interest has been heightened by the fact that the autographs were collected by the late Peter Wilde, an actor well known in his day for playing Reggie Trentham in The Archers.

Gary Barnes, owner of Barnes Auctioneers, said: “He met the Beatles while staying in a hotel at the same time as the Fab Four and they were just as interested in meeting him as he was them.

“Peter asked them to sign two autograph books for his sons and they were happy to oblige. It seems quite possible that it happened when the Beatles were visiting Norwich.”

Beatles at the Grosvenor in 1963  staff pic  een 10/2/02Beatles at the Grosvenor in 1963 staff pic een 10/2/02

The autograph book, which includes other signatures that have yet to be identified, has been put in the sale by the actor’s grandson, Simon Wilde, of Marauder Road, Old Catton. following the death of his father Jonathan.

Mr Barnes said: “Many autographs purporting to be by the Beatles were actually signed by their road managers who were inundated with thousands of requests and perfected the signatures.

“The important thing in this case is we know they were signed by the guys themselves because they did so in front of Peter Wilde. It is also very unusual that all four signatures feature on a single sheet of paper.”

He said a ticket from a 1963 Beatles concert in Norwich with just two signatures on - George Harrison and Paul McCartney - had sold for nearly £1,900 at a London auction.

He said: “Our estimate for the four autographs of in excess of £2,000 is very conservative. There are precedents for Beatles’ autographs reaching five figure sums. The only thing missing, which would add to the value, would be a photograph of Peter Wilde with the Beatles.”

Simon Wilde, 32, who works for Bertrams, the book distribution warehouse on Broadland Business Park, said: “My grandfather gave his autographs to my father who used to mention the Beatles story an awful lot.

“He said to me, ‘if anything should ever happen to me the Beatles autographs are at the back of the television’. When he passed away I found the book under it.”

He said he was not a huge Beatles fan but he believed his grandfather had been one.

The autographs had sentimental meaning to him in that his father had been so keen for him to have them, but he now wanted them to go to a real fan who would appreciate them.

He said he could not decipher the other autographs in the book but he knew his grandfather had, at one time or another, collected the signatures of Norman Wisdom and Dusty Springfield.

Peter Wilde’s second autograph book was sold through Phillips auctioneers some years ago for a substantial sum.

Other items in today’s auction, starting at 2pm, include a rare collection of boxed Dinky toys.

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