Beatles Auction


By Annick Dournes and Frederic de Poligny


On Saturday 18 March, the Parisian saleroom Drouot is organizing a big event. One of the largest collections of Beatles artefacts is going to be sold by auction. For over 40 years, Jacques Volcouve the French reference specialist of the famous pop band, collected everything he could about them. He lovingly selected rarities and unusual objects, vinyl, CDs, books, photos, slides, posters, videos, magazines… 332 of them will be on sale next Saturday.

Jacques Volcouve started his collection in 1967, gathering everything he could find about the Beatles. Beyond his love for their music, he got fascinated by these four musicians who, in his opinion, have revolutionized the music world of their time and even the world in its wholeness. To him his collection was fitting together the pieces of the jigsaw of the Beatles’ life. Each part of it is a part of their incredible destiny. But with their increasing success the amount of Beatles’ artefacts rose exponentially and Jacques Volcouve became more and more selective, choosing only the very best and making his collection quite unique.

Variant image for _Sargent-Pepper’s_

When the BBC’s series “The Beatles Story” was broadcasted on the French radio Europe 1, in 1973, he was able to point out to the radio station a few mistakes made during the program. His expertise was soon acknowledged and he became the French Beatles specialist. Aiming to share his passion with many others, he created the “Club des 4 de Liverpool”, an association who tried to ensure that everything told about the Beatles was true. Until 1984 the association also edited a magazine, the “Fab Four Publication”, that depicted the social and musical impact of the Beatles. Meanwhile Jacques Volcouve also wrote 9 books dedicated to his beloved band.

He of course had the opportunity to meet George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Pete Best and several artefact that will be sold newt Saturday are signed by one or several of them. You can attend the sale in Paris and share the exciting atmosphere with the other buyers, but you might as well stay home and outbid on line or by phone. Among the precious rarities on sale you will be able to become the proud owner of one of the only 250 “special push copies” of “Love me do” (estimation 8,000 to 10,000 €), or a 1965 tour program signed by the four musicians(4.000 to 7,000€).

Variant image for ”Abbey-Road_

The two iconic lots, for which bidders will fight for, are two lots of rare photos. Lot n°150 is an almost unobtainable lot of 11 alternative photos made for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” LP staged by Peter Blake and photographed by Michael Cooper (10,000 to 15,000 €). The lot n° 151 is a lot of 5 alternative photos made for the “Abbey Road” LP. On these famous photos we can see the Beatles crossing the road. There are actually 6 different photos taken by Ian McMillan, on four of them Paul walked bear foot while he wore sandals on the other two (10,000 to 15,000 €). You will also be able to bid for a framed black and white photo made by Robert Freeman, taken during the shooting of “A Hard Day’s Night”, at the Studios of Twickenham. It is in pouch inside cover of the album ‘Beatles for sale”(2,000 to 4,000€). Numerous lots are much more affordable with lowest estimations, from 50 to 400€…


Drouot sales room is in Paris, 9, rue Drout in the 9th district. If you want to be present at the auction, you could take a morning Eurostar to Paris from St Pancras station and opt for a late return the same day. You will have enough time for the whole auction, Drouot sales room being only at a few metro stops from Gare du Nord.

To see the whole catalogue:


Text ©Annick Dournes and Frederic de Poligny

The Beatles, photo by Robert Freeman