Wall signed by The Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show to be auctioned

The stage backdrop to the band's debut US TV appearance is expected to fetch up to £600,000

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A piece of wall signed by The Beatles during their famous US television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show is to be auctioned in New York.

The piece of stage backdrop was autographed by the band when they made their appearance on the show on February 9, 1964, watched by 73 million fans. It is expected to fetch up to £600,000 ($1 million) when it goes up for sale on April 26 in New York through the Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions, AP reports.

Explaining how the Fab Four came to sign the wall, the show's former stagehand Jerry Gord said it was a "spur of the moment thing". He continued: "They came down from stage right from their dressing rooms, I gave them a marker and asked them to sign the wall."

The wall also contains the signature of other artists that played the show later in the television season, including the Searchers.

Details of the wall's history are unclear, but it is believed that a carpenter saved it for a young disabled fan when it was going to be thrown away. It then supposedly hung in a Baton Rouge bar at one point – but in 2002, it was bought by current owner Andy Geller for $100,000. Geller says he is selling the item because "I'm not sure I'll be here for the 75th" anniversary of the Beatles' US invasion.

Numerous celebrations of the 50 years since The Beatless US invasion include a week-long tribute on the Late Show with David Letterman – which films in the Ed Sullivan Theater – featuring Beatles covers from Broken Bells, Sting, the Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon, Lenny Kravitz and Lauryn Hill.

An historical marker will also be unveiled at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport today (February 7), and on Sunday (February 9) CBS will broadcast The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles a gig that took place last month which saw Ring Starr and Paul McCartney perform together alongside tributes from Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl, Katy Perry, Pharrell, John Legend, Gary Clark, Jr. and the recently reunited Eurythmics.

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