Omega Auction’s forthcoming sale of the framed score, which is in Martin’s handwriting and is signed by Sir Paul McCartney, was initially billed by Warrington-based Omega Auctions as ‘the original’ version of the music sheet. The lot description has now been amended to ‘an original … one of only two known originals’ after a complaint by one of Martin’s four children that she possessed the original score.
Martin’s daughter Alexis Stratford read media coverage of the impending sale and instructed a lawyer to contact Omega Auctions to say she possessed the original, having been given it by her father 30 years ago.“[My father] knew it was of great historical value and even pointed out the coffee stains from John Lennon,” Stratford told.
‘Two known originals’
Omega Auctions stands by the authenticity of its lot. Karen Fairweather, director of Omega Auctions, told ATG: “We have had no row [with George Martin’s daughter]. Her score is an original and ours is an original, end of story. Our catalogue description states that the score we are selling is one of two known original scores. Fairweather added: “It’s a fantastic, historical piece and we are looking forward to selling it.”
The scores were prepared for the song’s recording, which included a string octet conducted by Martin, at Abbey Road studios in April 1966. The version owned by Stratford is an eight-page manuscript in pencil, whereas that being sold by Omega Auctions is four pages long, also containing musical notation for the string instrument parts and lyrics. Omega Auctions says the score consigned to its Warrington saleroom was one “most likely written out for the instrumentalists”.
George Martin provenance
According to the catalogue entry on thesaleroom.com, the score “was gifted to a gentleman who was well known in the music industry and was both a friend and business associate of George Martin. The signatures of George Martin and Paul McCartney are believed to have been added at a later date (circa late 1980s), most likely shortly before this was framed and gifted”. Stratford’s score, also mounted in a frame, is said to be worth £75,000 but is not for sale. The Omega Auctions lot, numbered 250 among other lots of Beatles memorabilia, also includes the deeds to the Liverpool grave of the real Eleanor Rigby, the song’s inspiration.
Ahead of the live auction on September 11-12, the most recent bid for the Omega Auctions lot on thesaleroom.com was £12,000 against an estimate of £15,000-25,000.