Three Great Beatle Auction Items

Over the years we’ve purchased a lot of pre-loved Beatle CDs (and vinyl) at online auctions (e.g. Ebay), but never before at a real, live auction – until now.

The Mossgreen Auction house in Melbourne, Victoria recently held a major sale of collectables. Part of it was a significant offering of Beatle items – memorabilia, books, records and CDs. You can view the catalogue online (the Beatle items start on page 8 at Lot No. 715. They continue to Lot No. 836).

These all came from one collector who was downsizing….pretty impressive.

For a while now we’ve had a hankering to get the previously-released CD boxed sets of the Beatles singles, and the CD EP’s. These came out way back in 1992 – and in the Mossgreen auction there was one lot containing both box sets: IMG_1006

There was also another separate lot with all the CD singles in a special box, all on 3-inch CD’s. This was issued in 1989:IMG_0993

Figuring we’d take a chance we put a pre-auction bid on both lots. It was one of those auction sites where you could watch and also listen in live online as the auction actually proceeded. The auctioneer steadily worked his way to our first lot (for the 3-inch CD single set). We won it in quick time – with nobody else bidding at all. The set was ours.

It comes in a very dark blue-black cardboard and brass-hinged hinged box:

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Each of the 22 tiny CDs is housed in an individual folder:

IMG_0995IMG_1001IMG_1005IMG_1003These 3-inch CD’s were also issued individually over a period of time (late 1988-1989), ut it’s nice to have them collected in one box. There’s a small black folder in the box detailing each single.

Next up in the auction was the lot of two boxed sets. One was the Beatles EP’s, and one the CD singles again, this time on individual, regular sized CDs. Again, our pre-auction bid was the only one made, and again we won. It was all over so very fast:IMG_1010

Each of these boxes is in mint condition. They’re both dark grey-black in colour with gold lettering and they’re hinged at the top. These boxes are quite beautifully made with a cloth-covered, thick board. In the photo above you can see the brass rivets holding them together. On the EP box the outer top tilts forward and there is a secondary flap inside which lifts to reveal the 14 CD sleeves (including a double CD Magical Mystery Tour):IMG_1012IMG_1013IMG_1015The 22 CD singles box is very similar:IMG_1016IMG_1017IMG_1018IMG_1021So, expecting to win maybe just one auction lot if we were lucky – we ended up with two! Three great CD box sets in all, and in mint condition from a Beatle collector in Melbourne who was selling off some of their prized items…..

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George Harrison – Living in the Material World – 1973 Pressing Plant Footage

Check out this great YouTube promotional video posted on the George Harrison official YouTube page.Living in the Material World footageThe footage – shot in 1973 on 16mm film – was taken both at the EMI pressing plant in Hayes Middlesex in the UK (the black & white film), and in the USA at Capitol Records (colour film).

It shows the packaging and testing of the original vinyl pressings of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World LP – back when vinyl was king!

The album has been newly remastered for the forthcoming The Years 1968-1975 CD box set – to be released on September 22.

The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Is Here

Picked up our copy today!Beatles Mono Box1BEatles Mono Box2

As you can see, The Beatles in Mono comes in a protective outer cardboard shipping box, similar to the one the Stereo LPs set was delivered in back in 2012. The sticker shows our Mono box was packed on June 18.

Like the Stereo box it comes delivered essentially as a box-within-a-box, providing very good protection and padding while the set is in transit:Beatles Mono Box3 Beatles Mono Box4 Beatles Mono Box6

In Australia The Beatles in Mono was actually available in store from last Thursday (September 4). The reason for the delay in posting these photos is that we couldn’t physically get to the shop we’d ordered ours from (the fab Redeye Records in Sydney) until today….a frustrating four-day wait!

Once removed from its protective packaging there’s a printed cardboard slip-cover which wraps around the box. Here’s the front:Beatles Mono Box7

And here’s the rear of the slip-cover:Beatles Mono Box8

Slip it off and here’s what you see on the front of the actual box itself:Beatles Mono Box9

FYI on the rear of the box is a sliced Apple logo: Beatles Mono Box10

The Mono box is exactly the same size as the Stereo box from 2012. If they are sitting side-by-side on a shelf they are pigeon pairs – one black, one white: Beatles Mono Box30Beatles Mono Box 31

No need to go into hugely great detail about this set as there has already been a very early “unboxing” video released by Pete Nash of the Beatles Fan Club Magazine. That video is comprehensive and well worth a look, but here are a few photos of some of the detail contained in the packaging you might be interested in seeing – things that Pete Nash doesn’t show up close:Beatles Mono Box11 Beatles Mono Box12

First this out is the beautiful, specially produced hard-cover book (still sealed in its heat- shrink):Beatles Mono Box13

Of course first album out is Please Please Me:Beatles Mono Box14Beatles Mono Box16

(Click on images to see a larger versions)

Each album (except the triple LP Mono Masters) is in a re-sealable clear plastic sleeve. This is different to the Stereo box where each LP was in heat-shrink plastic which has to be cut open to get to the cover and the record inside.

Here’s some of the detail in the printing and sleeve construction – all exactly faithful to the way this would have looked in 1963:Beatles Mono Box15

All printing and pressing of the box set is done by Optimal Media, based in the town of Robel in Germany. It has to be said that the quality and attention to detail is absolutely first-rate. The cardboard used for the covers is thick, and the 180g vinyl feels chunky and solid in your hands.

Each LP comes with individual 2014 insert cards, complete with mastering notes specific to each title:Beatles Mono Box17 Beatles Mono Box18 Beatles Mono Box19

All the labels are authentic reproductions of what the originals would have looked like at the time of release:Beatles Mono Box20 Beatles Mono Box21

Magical Mystery Tour has the original booklet pasted inside the gatefold cover; Sgt Pepper is a gatefold with the cut-out sheet and a replica of the psychedelic pink inner sleeve; and the White Album is a top-loader, with The BEATLES embossed on the front, a limited edition number stamp, poster, four photos, and black inner sleeves – just like the 1968 originals:
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Beatles Mono Box24 Beatles Mono Box25Last album out of the box is the Mono Masters triple LP, containing all the singles and B-sides not captured on any of the original albums:Beatles Mono Box26 Beatles Mono Box27A reader has requested we publish some shots of the record spines. Here they are – and yes, that is the way that Sgt Pepper is printed. It looks upside down, but that’s also faithful to they way the original LPs were presented: Beatles Mono Box32

Beatles Mono Box33There are only two bar-codes to be seen. One on the rear of the Mono Masters, and one on the outer slipcase for the box set:

Beatles Mono Box28 Beatles Mono Box29

(Click on images to see larger versions)

There’s a very interesting Billboard magazine article in which it is clear that these LPs are not “sanitised” versions of the mono releases like the mono CDs were all the clicks and pops and studio mistakes removed:

‘Five years after the Beatles mono recordings were released on CD, Capitol Records and Universal Music are fostering the notion that to hear the Beatles music the way John, Paul, George and Ringo did in the 1960s, a mono LP is mandatory listening….The mono CDs, which were cleaned up and re-EQ’d in a way that did not occur with the new set of LPs, “was an attempt to give the history its day in the sun,” said project supervisor Guy Hayden. “There was no hurry and, in true Beatles fashion, if you can do it better, you do it again,” says Sean Magee, an Abbey Road-trained engineer who oversaw the mastering of the albums.’

For a more in-depth review from a sound quality perspective have a look at this article from the audiophile magazine The Absolute Sound. Reviewer Neil Gader steps through a listen to of each album. As he says, “Spoiler alert: Wow!”.

There is also a great set of reviews of the sound at Analog Planet.

And who could have resisted this invitation to hear the Mono LPs launched at a function held in the actual place where these masterpieces were recorded – Abbey Road’s famed Studio 2:beatles-mono-sidebar

Apple Records, Universal Music and Mojo magazine hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for a select few at Abbey Road in London last week. Not only did the lucky audience get to listen to tracks from the new records in-situ on a £300,000 sound system (that’s A$522,000!), but also to hear a panel of distinguished guests discuss how the group recorded and mixed their songs. Read more here.

It’s Official – George Harrison “The Apple Years 1968-1975”

The George Harrison and The Beatles official sites have finally gone public, announcing for certain and in detail the news that Dhani Harrison leaked on social media at the end of July. The full details of the new box set The Apple Years 1968-75 have been placed on both websites and information has been emailed to subscribers. It will be released in just under three weeks time on September 22 (September 23 in the US).

There’s also a stylish video to accompany the news:

In the video you can catch a glimpse of how the box and each of the six CDs and DVD will be packaged – although it goes by fairly quickly! The information on the website confirms that there will be six albums and a DVD, and says that the box set will contain eight discs in all – meaning seven CDs and one DVD. That is confirmation that All Things Must Pass will be on two CD’s, just like the 2001 re-issue. However, it will contain a miniaturised version of the poster which was included in the original triple-LP release.

Complete track lists are available, including for the first time what will be on the DVD, which will be (for the time being) exclusive to The Apple Years box set:

• George Harrison – The Apple Years Feature (2014)
• All Things Must Pass (bonus feature in 2001 album package)
• The Concert for Bangladesh EPK (2005) Produced by Olivia Harrison and Jonathan Clyde
• Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) (video from Live In Japan, 1991)
• Miss O’Dell (alternative version from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
• Sue Me Sue You Blues (acoustic demo version from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
• Living In The Material World (feature from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
• Ding Dong, Ding Dong (original promo video, 1974)
• Dark Horse (original promotional clip, 1974)

Beatles Japan Box – Translation of Insert

Our box set of the Beatles’ Japan Box came with this postcard insert:Japan Box insert

On the other side there are spaces to fill out your name and address details, attach a postage stamp. We thought it looks like an offer to send it off to receive an additional CD single.

We wanted to confirm this and so we sent a photo of the card to a Japanese friend who has kindly had a look. While not offering a complete translation he writes: “The text reads that you can enter a draw to win a special, one-song promo CD (not for sale) of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – complete with the original Japanese 7-inch cover reproduced for the CD sleeve. The deadline is postmarked 9 July (in Japan) though….”

Sadly, the CD Japan site also says that this special offer/application postcard is valid only for purchases in Japan….

So, it looks like only a few lucky Japanese Beatle fans will be getting what undoubtably will become a collectors item to add to their Japan Box box sets. IWTHYH Japan

Beatles in Mono – Vinyl Releases Officially Announced

Beatles in Mono2The official Beatles site has today announced that, at long last, there will be a 14-LP box set of the mono vinyl releases.

This has been on the cards since the stereo and mono CD’s were remastered in 2009, and the stereo vinyl box set came out in 2012. Fans have been patiently waiting for the vinyl mono’s ever since…..Beatles in Mono

Here’s the official press release:

THE BEATLES GET BACK TO MONO 

The Beatles’ original mono studio albums, remastered at Abbey Road directly from the analogue masters for vinyl release on 180-Gram LPs will be available on September 8, individually and in a limited, 14-LP Boxed Edition with Hardbound Book.

London – June 12, 2014 – The Beatles in mono: This is how most listeners first heard the group in the 1960s, when mono was the predominant audio format. Up until 1968, each Beatles album was given a unique mono and stereo mix, but the group always regarded the mono as primary.

On September 8 (September 9 in North America), The Beatles’ nine U.K. albums, the American-compiled Magical Mystery Tour, and the Mono Masters collection of non-album tracks will be released in mono on 180-gram vinyl LPs with faithfully replicated artwork. Newly mastered from the analogue master tapes, each album will be available both individually and within a lavish, limited 14-LP boxed edition, The Beatles In Mono, which also includes a 108-page hardbound book.

In an audiophile-minded undertaking, The Beatles’ acclaimed mono albums have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Sean Magee and GRAMMY®-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz. While The Beatles In Mono CD boxed set released in 2009 was created from digital remasters, for this new vinyl project, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records without using any digital technology. Instead, they employed the same procedures used in the 1960s, guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.

Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s. Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.

Manufactured for the world at Optimal Media in Germany, The Beatles’ albums are presented in their original glory, both sonically and in their packaging. The boxed collection’s exclusive 12-inch by 12-inch hardbound book features new essays and a detailed history of the mastering process by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett. The book is illustrated with many rare studio photos of The Beatles, fascinating archive documents, and articles and advertisements sourced from 1960s publications.Beatles in Mono covers

The Beatles In Mono: Available individually and collected in a limited 14-LP boxed edition, accompanied by an exclusive 108-page hardbound book.

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles For Sale
Help!
Rubber Soul
Revolver
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (2-LP)
Mono Masters (3-LP)

A Harrison Apple Single, and a White Album to Complete a Beatles Box Set

A few posts ago we wrote about some Beatle treasure discovered during a recent visit to the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. Here are some details about more finds from that same trip – which included a run up to the seaside town of Nelson Bay (45 minutes north of Newcastle) as well.

A second-hand book and record store called Rice’s Bookshop on Newcastle’s famous Hunter Street turned up this Australian George Harrison 45 which we previously didn’t have in the collection:Harrison What is Life 1-1Harrison What is Life-1Harrison Apple Scruffs-1

It’s a very clean copy of this 1971 single release, taken from the All Things Must Pass triple LP.

Quite some time back (many, many years ago in fact) we were given one of those black, wooden roll-top Beatles boxes, sometimes known as the “Bread Bin” box: Beatles Rolltop2Our box was perfect, but it was given to us without any of the CD’s…..

So, for some time now we’ve been gradually stocking it with Australian pressings of the 15 discs that should be in there. We had every one – except the White Album. It looked like a kid with a missing front tooth! That is until this trip to Newcastle.

In the seaside town of Nelson Bay (which is just a little bit further up the coast from Newcastle) we discovered the final piece in the jigsaw in a small second-hand book and CD store there. And for just A$13.00 it was a real bargain:Beatles White Aus frontBeatles White Aus rearBeatles White Aus Disc 1Beatles White Aus Disc 2

(click on the images to see larger versions)

The Beatles “Bread Bin” set was released in 1988 as a limited edition box containing fifteen CD abum releases. They are housed in a custom-made, fitted roll-top “bread bin” style wooden outer box with a 64-page colour booklet featuring rare photo’s and the stories behind every song. The booklet slots into a tray just under the CDs.

Our set is now complete!

Beatles Rolltop1