Beatles’ ‘muse’ Eleanor Rigby’s burial deeds fail to go for a song
No buyer for papers on claimed inspiration for hit but George Harrison recording goes under hammer for 14,000
Poor old Eleanor Rigby. Nobody came to her funeral and now nobody wants to pay enough for her grave, after the deeds to her Liverpool burial plot failed to sell at a Beatles auction.
Whether she was actually the inspiration for the Beatles song is hotly contested, which is perhaps why the papers for her grave failed to reach the 2,000 reserve price on Monday.
The auctioneers had better luck with an unreleased George Harrison recording, which sold for 14,000.
The reel-to-reel tape features an Indian-influenced track called Hello Miss Mary Bee, which was written especially for the vendor in early 1968. It was sent to her, along with a six-page letter from Harrisons wife, Patti Boyd, which was included in the lot, as well as postcards sent by the Beatles guitarist.
A pair of John Lennons glasses went for 5,600 cheap compared with the 19,500 a Canadian dentist paid for one of his teeth back in 2011.
A set of autographs gathered by a schoolchild extra on the Magical Mystery Tour film went for 7,000 at the Omega Beatles auction on Monday in Warrington, Cheshire, while the likely first draft of the screenplay for A Hard Days Night sold for 2,200.
Rigby was buried in St Peters churchyard in Woolton, Liverpool, where Paul McCartney first met John Lennon at a church fete.
A certificate of purchase and a receipt for the grave space went under the hammer, along with a miniature bible, dated 1899 and with the name Eleanor Rigby written inside. They were expected to sell for between 2,000 and 4,000.
Eleanor Rigbys name was immortalised in the song that was released as the B-side of Yellow Submarine in 1966.
McCartney, who wrote the lyrics about a woman who is wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door, reportedly said it was simply a name that came to him. But it later emerged that it was inscribed on a headstone in the graveyard which he and Lennon used to regularly use as a shortcut.
About 250 items of Beatles memorabilia were up for auction on Monday. A number of other lots failed to sell, including a picture of the band painted by comedians Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson.
A handwritten score for Eleanor Rigby, expected to go for at least 20,000, was withdrawn from the auction shortly before it began because of an ownership dispute.