Contract that launched The Beatles up for sale

The contract will go on sale on 29 September and is expected to fetch up to 500,000, according to Sotheby's

London: The contract that launched the career of The Beatles will be sold in London later this month and is expected to fetch up to £500,000 (€681,000, $760,000), Sotheby’s auction house said on Saturday.

The document was signed by John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr with their manager Brian Epstein on 1 October 1962—four days before the release of their first single Love Me Do.

Harrison and McCartney were under 21 at the time so their fathers acted as co-signatories and there was a clause in the contract stating that band members could be expelled “should two or more of them desire".

The document also outlined the different commission rates that Epstein would receive for earnings of up to £400, up to £800 and more than £800 a week.

“Without this contract, and the relationship it represents, it seems inconceivable that the Beatles could have achieved all that they did," said Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in books and manuscripts.

Epstein, who died from an accidental overdose in 1967, was dubbed the “Fifth Beatle" by McCartney.

The Beatles came out of Liverpool in northwest England to become one of the best-selling and most influential rock bands in history.

Founding member Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr are still alive, while John Lennon was shot dead in 1980 and George Harrison died of cancer in 2001.

The contract will go on sale on 29 September. AFP