Paul McCartney’s old school book sells for £46,800

The book contains essays written by the Beatle on such works as 'The Return of The Native' and 'Paradise Lost'

One of Sir Paul McCartney‘s old school books, which contains notes and grades written in by his English literature teacher, has sold at auction for a staggering £46,800.

The exercise book, which also includes various doodles made by a young McCartney, went under the hammer for nearly ten times its original estimate at an auction of Beatles memorabilia in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.

Omega Auctions conducted the sale as part of their ‘The Beatles Collection: Memorabilia & Vinyl Records’ auction, with the auction house initially estimating that the book would reach a price between £4,000 and £6,000 – which is comparatively paltry to the result of the final sale.


McCartney, now 76, used the book while he was a student at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, where he was taught English literature by Alan “Dusty” Durband.

Paul McCartney's English lit book
The front cover of Paul McCartney’s English book (Picture: Omega Auctions)

The green book contains English essays, notes and doodles written by the Beatle when he was 17-18 years old. McCartney’s essays on such classic literary works as Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native and John Milton’s Paradise Lost are included in the text book.

All of McCartney’s essays are marked in the book by Mr Durband, whose notes and grades can be seen in the book – with the teacher at one point telling his student: “I’d answer the question first before challenging its truth.” See the extract in question below.

Paul McCartney's 1959/60 English book
Paul McCartney’s 1959/60 English book (Picture: Omega Auctions)

Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn’s book The Beatles – All These Years: Volume One: Tune In quotes McCartney’s fond reflection on that period of his education. “I did most of my reading in (that) little period of my life… I thought it was a bit swotty, a good image…  I felt like I was at university.”


Other items that went on sale this week included a pair of John Lennon’s gold-rimmed glasses without the lenses, which were gifted to the late star by designer Barry Finch in 1967. The spectacles sold for £9,600, while a suit once worn by Lennon also went for £4,800.

A cassette of George Harrison-penned songs did not sell, however. The tape, which contains previously unheard tracks, was recorded and written in 1978. It was expected to fetch £3,000.

Earlier this month, a passionate letter written by John Lennon was sold at auction in the US. The text saw Lennon railing against the music industry for their perceived ill-treatment of his and Yoko Ono‘s ‘Two Virgins’ album.

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