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FAB FIND; John, Paul, George and Ringo autographs from Midlands concert come with a twist.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter

THE only known band autograph from a 1963 Beatles performance in the Black Country is to go under the hammer. But the set of signatures comes with their own particular twist... they are actually ALL genuine.

The small sheet, signed by John, Paul, George and Ringo, will go under the hammer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers' Fradley HQ on Wednesday.

It was signed after a concert at The Plaza, in Old Hill, Cradley Heath.

Many slips, scraps and notebook pages signed by every member of the Fab Four are in circulation - but many are not entirely authentic.

That's because The Beatles regularly signed for each other - so John would "forge" Paul's signature and Paul would mimic John's scrawl.

Many of those collective autographs are the work of only three band members, at best, say experts.

But next month's lot is entirely authentic, however, and comes with flawless provenance.

The autograph hunter in question was drummer with popular group The Cossacks, who were on the very same Plaza bill as The Beatles.

His autograph also includes Gene Vincent and The Shouts, and Manfred Mann. The pop lot has been valued at around PS3,000.

In its catalogue, Winterton states: "Autographs of Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, signed in blue ink on the back of a ticket and stuck down in an autograph album, the paper measures 9cm x 6cm approximately."

It adds: "The Cossacks were the final act on stage before The Beatles. The stage at the venue revolved and The Beatles joined The Cossacks singing Long Tall Sally out of view before the stage revolved and revealed the Fab Four to the audience, who then took over the end of the song.

"The drummer of the Cossacks sat behind Ringo Starr's drum kit and obtained the autographs after the gig."

The Beatles' January 11, 1963, Black Country gig was one of three planned for the day. At lunchtime, they played Liverpool's famed Cavern Club and then dashed to the Plaza. They were also booked to perform at the Ritz Ballroom, Kings Heath, later in the evening. Both The Plaza and Ritz were run by Joe and Mary Regan.

But a sudden blizzard prevented the Fab Four from making the final 11-mile journey to Birmingham. That show was cancelled and rescheduled for February 15, 1963.

The Cossacks hailed from Cannock. Very little information exists about the band, but they morphed into Zero Five, a very popular act on the West Midlands circuit.


| The Old Hill Plaza, and top, a ticket from another Old Hill Beatles concert

| The Beatles with their MBEs in 1965

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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