The Beatles’ unused ‘Abbey Road’ photos sell for £180,000

The photographs were expected to reach between £50,000–£70,000

Unused photos from The Beatles‘ ‘Abbey Road’ photoshoot have sold at auction for £180,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions in London.

The shots were taken on August 8, 1969 by photographer Iain Macmillan, who had only 10 minutes to complete the entire shoot. Six photos were taken in all, including the photo that eventually made the final cut, as well as a scenery shot of the Abbey Road sign.

“This set of photographs has triggered a brilliant reaction from the market,” said Sarah Wheeler of Bloomsbury Auctions. “It has been a pleasure to share them with the public at our sale rooms, even for a short time, and a delight to see them attain such a worthy price today.”

Edward Dimsdale, Senior Lecturer of Photographic Theory at London College of Communcation, UAL, added: “Encapsulating a significant cultural moment, it is an image that launched a notorious conspiracy theory, and that clearly still provides a touchstone for fans. The opportunity to see the image in close relation to the only other frames originally shot by the photographer is undoubtedly instructive. By judgment or serendipity (or more likely a bit of both), Macmillan was able to seize upon an instant that continues to have the power to resonate, 45 years on.”

The sale was made over the phone to an overseas buyer. The collection was originally given a sales estimate of between £50,000–£70,000.

‘Abbey Road’ was released in September 1969, with the iconic album cover beloved and parodied ever since. The artwork is also the focus of several conspiracy theories, including one that Paul McCartney is in fact dead and was replaced on the sleeve by an imposter.

Last month, George Harrison’s childhood home sold for £156,000 at an auction in Liverpool.

The three bedroom mid-terrace house at 25 Upon Green in Speke, Liverpool, is where The Beatles – then known as The Quarrymen – held some of their earliest rehearsals before rising to fame.
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