March 22, 1997

On this day in 1997, Paul McCartney’s original birth certificate was sold to a private Beatles collector for $84,146.

The auction was held in Tokyo, the items varied from McCartney’s school math book to John Lennon’s custom-made Mercedes-Benz limousine. The collection was compiled from relatives of the Beatles, associates who worked with the group and previous collectors who were hoping to triple their original investments.

McCartney’s certificate, the first of 300 items to go on the block, surpassed the pre-sale estimate of $13,000. The certificate, put up for sale by a record collector from California, went to an unidentified buyer in London. The document was originally sold by McCartney’s stepmother after the death of his father.

John Lennon’s son Julian bought back his father’s black cape and an the Afghan coat he wore on the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour album sleeve.

Oddly bids for the famous white Steinway piano on which Lennon composed “Imagine,” was expected to fetch up to $500,000, but didn’t even reach half of that figure.

This was the biggest-ever auction of Beatles memorabilia at the time, the total for all sales came to approximately $1.3 million.

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