Legendary autograph attracts top price

NEARLY 45 years after winning a competition to meet the Beatles, one Ipswich woman is holding on to her John and Ringo autographs today.Margaret Pope got the pop legends' signatures when the Fab Four played The Gaumont theatre - now the Regent - on May 23, 1963.

NEARLY 45 years after winning a competition to meet the Beatles, one Ipswich woman is holding on to her John and Ringo autographs today.

Margaret Pope got the pop legends' signatures when the Fab Four played The Gaumont theatre - now the Regent - on May 23, 1963.

Yesterday the two autographs were valued at £750 collectively at a Beatles and rare pop memorabilia valuation day at the Novotel Hotel in Greyfriars Road.

Mrs Pope, who chose not to part with the pop stars' scribbles, was a 10-year-old called Margaret Sewell when she and a friend won a talent competition to get the invite to the Gaumont.

“It has lived long in my memory. I was a Beatles fan - and still am - and my friend and I won the competition after singing at the Saturday morning pictures.

“We just entered it for some fun.”

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Her photo was taken with the Beatles and the black and white image appeared in the Evening Star again on Thursday last week.

Mrs Pope's husband, Russell, was also at the Gaumont concert - although the two did not know each other then.

Mr Pope, 62, who lives with his wife in Martlesham, said: “I had come to see Roy Orbison more than The Beatles.

“The top price tickets were 10 shillings and six, although we didn't pay that much.”

Mrs Pope's autographs were among concert tickets, posters and programmes to be valued at the Novotel.

The most expensive item was an original copy of A Hard Day's Night, which Tracks, the autograph dealer, bought for £12,000.

Valuer Jason Cornthwaite said about 100 people had turned up to the day.

“There are a lot of music fans here in Ipswich - some with autographs from the 1963 concert - and they have kept a lot of stuff from the 1960s.”

Were you at the Gaumont concert in 1963? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk