Sex Pistols nearly upstage the Beatles, but only for memorabilia

Associated Press

LONDON — Beatles memorabilia, including a letter from George Harrison to the "fifth Beatle," won the highest bids at a rock auction Thursday, but the Sex Pistols nearly stole the show.

The Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain paid $11,926 for a three-page letter from Harrison to Stuart Sutcliffe, who played bass during the band’s formative years and has been called the fifth Beatle.

The 1960 letter urged Sutcliffe, who was living in Hamburg, Germany, to return to Liverpool for a series of performances.

"If we get a new bass player for the time being, it will be crumby as he will have to learn everything and it’s no good Paul (McCartney) playing bass, we’ve decided," it reads.

Sutcliffe quit the band the next year and died of a brain hemorrhage in April 1962.

But items from the Sex Pistols, the British punk band, exceeded auction house Sotheby’s expectations. An "Anarchy" T-shirt worn by singer Johnny Rotten was purchased for nearly $6,000 by an unidentified telephone bidder.

A Sex Pistols concert poster drew $4,430, and a copy of the withdrawn single, "God Save the Queen," sold for $4,089.

Hard Rock also purchased unpublished photographs of the Beatles for $8,519. The company said it planned to display them in two new Hard Rock hotels.

Also auctioned were hotel registration forms for the Beatles and manager Brian Epstein from their stay at a hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. They sold for $14,481.

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