A black leather jacket worn by the Beatles guitarist, George Harrison during numerous early 1960s Beatles appearances, will be one of the highlights of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia sale on 12th December in Knightsbridge, London. The jacket is one of the most important items of Beatles clothing ever to come onto the market and is offered for sale with an estimate of £90,000 – 120,000.
Synonymous with the early images of the Beatles taken in Hamburg and while performing there and at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, the jacket is among several lots worn by George throughout his musical career to be offered by Bonhams. Also included in the sale is a pair of George’s leather ‘Beatle’ boots circa. 1964, and a bright orange western-style shirt worn during his famous charity event, The Concert For Bangladesh, 1971. The Beatles are arguably one of the most influential fashion icons of the 20th century and their early signature ‘leather look’, which included a black leather jacket, became an iconic element of their stage shows during their formative years in the early 1960s. This jacket was acquired by George during the Beatles residency in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960/1961 and was a favoured outfit which featured in much of the early publicity to promote the band, particularly in photographs taken by Astrid Kirchherr and Jürgen Vollmer. The group developed their look and style as well as their performance and music skills during their time in Hamburg. It was only once the band signed with their manager Brian Epstein at the start of 1962, that he urged them to adopt a more modern, sophisticated style by wearing matching suits.
The Beatles performed their last concert wearing their leather jackets on the 5th April 1962 at the Cavern Club, Liverpool. The black leather jacket coming to auction at Bonhams was well-loved and well-worn and has remained within George’s family until now. In 1964 George gave the jacket to his elder brother Harry. It was then passed on to Harry’s son Paul who used to wear the jacket to school in the 1970s. The jacket is labelled Meyer-Schuchardt Sport und Leder Hamburg Monckebergstr. 6 Lubeck Breitestr. 37, size 50, and is inscribed GEO in green ink. It is accompanied by a limited edition deluxe version of George Harrison – Living in the Material World, the documentary made about his life. The other George Harrison items of clothing in the sale include a pair of his ‘Beatle’ boots and a shirt by Nudie’s. The boots, of black leather are inscribed inside Mr George 2062, with an estimate of £12,000 – 15,000. George is seen wearing identical boots during the filming of A Hard Days Night, 1964. The orange shirt worn during the landmark ‘Concert For Bangladesh’, a benefit performance held on 1st August 1971 to an audience of 40,000 in Madison Square Garden in New York, shows the sway towards western-style clothing on George’s image at the time, the shirt is estimated at £6,000 – 8,000. To highlight the influence that their time in Germany had on the Beatles, George Harrison’s black leather jacket will be on view at Bonhams Cologne, Germany, on Friday 7th September 2012.
Further public viewing of the sale will be scheduled in London in November/December. Stephanie Connell, Director of the Entertainment Memorabilia department commented “This leather jacket is instantly recognisable and was an important part of the Beatles image in their early years. George Harrison was one of the pioneers of this signature style, taking inspiration from his peers in Hamburg at the start of the 1960s. It is extremely exciting to see such an iconic part of Beatles history emerge onto the market, this fresh piece of important music memorabilia never offered at auction before is sure to garner significant interest during the sale in December. With the recent launch of Bonhams office in Cologne, it is a great opportunity to bring this item back to Germany, where the Beatles spent such an important part of their formative years.”