Just in: Unseen Beatles fetch three times estimate

Just in: Unseen Beatles fetch three times estimate


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2014

Six unused shots from the Abbey Road cover session sold in London this morning for £180,000 ($280,000).

The original estimate was £50-70,000. Press release below.


abbey road3

abbey road4


London – The complete set of Abbey Road Session outtakes and the final cover shot for The Beatles Abbey Road album sold for £180,000 today in the sale of Photographs & Photobooks at Bloomsbury Auctions in London.


Several telephone bidders and one room bidder battled to take home the complete collection of photographs from The Beatles Abbey Road session. Now among music photography’s best known image, the set of seven photographs taken by Iain Macmillan (1938-2006), sold to a private overseas buyer on the phone for £180,000 including buyer’s premium with a round of applause from the room.


Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions said; “This set of photographs has triggered a brilliant reaction from the market, it has been a pleasure to share them with the public at our salerooms, even for a short time, and a delight to see them attain such a worthy price today.”

The original idea was conceived by Paul McCartney, he sketched out an idea of the cover for Macmillan who recreated the sketch into print. Holding up the traffic, local police gave Macmillan ten minutes to photograph the Fab Four walking back and forth across the now famous zebra crossing on the morning of 8th August 1969. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles’ last-recorded album and one of pop music’s most famous and recreated images.


Edward Dimsdale, Senior Lecturer, Photographic Theory at University of the Arts, London commented; “Encapsulating a significant cultural moment, it is an image that launched a notorious conspiracy theory, and that clearly still provides a touchstone for fans. The opportunity to see the image in close relation to the only other frames originally shot by the photographer is undoubtedly instructive. By judgment or serendipity (or more likely a bit of both), Macmillan was able to seize upon an instant that continues to have the power to resonate, forty-five years on.”


  • Prewartreasure says:

    Proving, if nothing else, that idiots with money to waste will buy anything as long as they are told it is ‘iconic’.

    PS. I have two 5×7 snapshots of my 55 year old daughter and her younger brother pulling me out of the sand at Dawlish Warren, dating to 1964. Now, what am I bid for these iconic images?