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Astrid Kirchherr photo archive to be auctioned in New York City

by Dave Haber

Beatles News has just learned that Guernsey's, the New York City-based auction house, will be conducting a truly major auction focusing on the Beatles. The heart of the sale will be Astrid Kirchherr's complete photographic archive. Astrid Kirchherr, as most Beatles fans know, was that beautiful young woman from Hamburg who teamed up with the group when they first arrived in Germany.

While Astrid was falling in love with Stuart Sutcliffe, who many consider to be the 5th Beatle, and working closely with John, Paul, and George in helping develop their image, she also did what she did best, which was taking compelling and great photographs of the fellows. A small number of these now iconic shots have appeared in various books focusing both on the Beatles and Astrid's career. Most, however, have never been seen, until now.

Astrid Kirchherr in 1964

The sale of Astrid's mostly unseen archive will be held live in New York City sometime between late summer and early fall, with the date soon to be announced. If one can't make it to New York, there will be several ways to become an absentee bidder.

This will be a very special auction, it is Astrid's actual original film negatives that will be for sale, along with the rights to use those negatives. Guernsey's is in the process of dividing the archive into auction lots that will each consist of 1, 2, 3, or 4 photographs of the Beatles in their great early days. Each lot will be boxed to include the negative, along with a superior quality digital image on disc and a photographic print made from that negative. It is estimated that there will be approximately 500 lots in all.

Successful auction buyers will forever own these fantastic Beatles photographs and be able to use them in whatever manner they choose, consistent with the copyrights normally granted to professional photographers.

There will be an auction package consisting of a catalogue and a disc containing all 800 images. An order form to acquire this package will appear on Guernsey's website soon. Also, if you have one item or a collection of items that truly are important to the history of the Beatles that you might like to have considered for inclusion in this remarkable event, Guernsey's wants to hear from you. You can contact Guernsey's at or call them in New York at (212) 794-2280.

Published May 3, 2011

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