Mys­tery of €25,000 Eleanor Rigby score pulled from auc­tion of Bea­tles mem­o­ra­bilia

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - World Wide - Hary Yorke in London

IT was a sen­ti­men­tal gift, bought at a char­ity auc­tion with the bless­ing of The Bea­tles and leg­endary pro­ducer Sir Ge­orge Martin.

But now a sought af­ter piece of Bea­tles mem­o­ra­bilia — an orig­i­nal Eleanor Rigby score penned by “fifth Bea­tle” Sir Ge­orge — is at the cen­tre of an ex­tra­or­di­nary dis­pute.

Colin San­ders, a renowned mu­si­cal en­tre­pre­neur and founder of the mix­ing con­sole man­u­fac­turer Solid State Logic (SSL), is un­der­stood to have won the auc­tion sev­eral years af­ter the song’s re­lease.

Now, how­ever, the much cher­ished heirloom has be­come cen­tre of a bizarre who­dunit in­volv­ing his widow, Dr Rose­mary San­ders, and the cou­ple’s adopted daugh­ter, Terri-Louise.

The con­tro­versy arose af­ter the rare man­u­script, signed by Sir Ge­orge and Sir Paul McCart­ney, turned up for sale at a War­ring­ton-based auc­tion house.

Af­ter learn­ing of its dis­ap­pear­ance, Dr San­ders con­tacted Omega Auc­tions, a spe­cial­ist in mu­sic mem­o­ra­bilia, and claimed own­er­ship.

The auc­tion house was forced to pull the lot.

The score is one of only two known to have been writ­ten by Sir Ge­orge; the orig­i­nal was left to his daugh­ter, Alexis Strat­fold, when he died last year. It had been val­ued at €25,000.

Dr San­ders has also alerted Thames Val­ley Po­lice, which is at­tempt­ing to de­ter­mine the man­u­script’s true own­er­ship and how it ap­peared for sale.

When ap­proached by news­pa­pers, Dr San­ders said that the score had been won by her late hus­band at a char­ity auc­tion and had been passed to her af­ter his death in 1998.

“My late hus­band won it at a char­ity auc­tion,” she said. “He knew Sir Ge­orge well, they used to move in the same cir­cles. They — the Bea­tles — would come to par­ties ocrush

ca­sion­ally. He went to Abbey Road as well, and of course some of the stu­dio was fit­ted out by SSL.”

A spokesman for Omega Auc­tions con­firmed that the score was no longer for sale and said it had been con­signed for sale by some­one claim­ing to be Colin San­ders’ daugh­ter Terri-Louise, adding that the auc­tion house had un­der­stood that that per­son had in­her­ited it from her fa­ther and was en­ti­tled to sell it. When quizzed on the sub­ject, Terri-Louise San­ders de­nied any knowl­edge of the in­ci­dent, say­ing she had never ap­proached the auc­tion house about any po­ten­tial sale.

A Thames Val­ley Po­lice spokesman said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

SUM­MIT: INM Ed­i­tor-in-chief Stephen Rae with Jean-Claude Juncker

PER­SIS­TENT CHARM: The Bea­tles pic­tured in 1966

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