Rare Beatle letter up for auction

Oct. 16, 2011 at 5:25 PM
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LONDON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- An unknown drummer may have missed out on a chance to join the Beatles before their Hamburg tour, a newly discovered letter written by Paul McCartney suggests.

Christie's will auction a handwritten letter that surfaced earlier this year folded inside a book at a Liverpool swap meet. The letter purportedly was written by Paul McCartney in Aug. 12, 1960, three days before the band was due to depart for its first tour of Hamburg, Britain's The Sunday Telegraph reported.

The band, lacking a drummer, consisted of McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe at the time.

On Aug. 8 an ad had appeared in a local paper, the Liverpool Echo: "Drummer -- Young -- Free."

An 18-year-old McCartney responded to the ad in the Aug. 12 letter to be auctioned,

"Dear Sir, In reply to your advertisement [sic] in Echo, Wed. night, we would like to offer you an audition for the position of drummer in the group.

"You will, however, need to be free soon for a trip to Hamburg (expenses paid $28 per week [approx.] for 2 months.) If interested, ring Jacaranda club, Slater St. [ROYAL 65'44] and ask for either a member of the 'BEATLES' Alan Williams [sic], or else leave a message, stating when you will be available. Yours sincerely Paul McCartney of THE BEATLES."

It is unclear if the audition took place. One day before the Beatles left for Hamburg the band, desperate for a drummer, hired Pete Best whose mother, Mona ran Liverpool's Casbah Club where they often played.

The letter is expected to get up to $14,000 at auction on November 15, The Telegraph said.

"It is exceptionally rare and hugely exciting to discover genuinely new material related to the Beatles that provides us with previously unknown facts about the band," Neil Roberts, the director of popular culture at Christie's said.

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