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It has languished in a loft for more than half a century but this slice of pop history is set to raise a fortune when it goes under the hammer next month.

Because when it comes to old Beatles records the 1962 10-inch record of Till There was You and Hello Little Girl is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ for collectors.

The 78rpm record was the first Beatles disc to be cut before the band broke into the music charts in late 1962.

Pressed at the HMV store in Oxford Street, London, it was presented to future Beatles producer George Martin at the EMI record label in a bid to secure the band a recording contract.

Despite Martin’s initial scepticism over the band, he offered the outfit from Liverpool a recording contract – and the rest is history.

The unique acetate record is one of a kind and is owned by Les Maguire, the keyboardist in fellow Liverpool act Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Maguire, 74, of Formby, Merseyside, was given the disc after it had been returned to the Beatles manager Brian Epstein by George Martin.

What makes it extra special is that it bears Epstein’s handwriting as he wrote ‘Til (sic) There was You’ and then attributed the song to ‘Paul McCartney & The Beatles.’

On the flip side he misspells ‘Hello Little Girl’ as ‘Hullo Little Girl’ and records the track as being the work of ‘John Lennon & The Beatles.’

Although it has been given a conservative auction estimate of £10,000 it is expected to go for far more when Beatles collectors hear about it.

Maguire said: ‘I’ve never been a big fan of memorabilia, but people seem to like it. It’s no good to me so I’ve given it to my granddaughter, who is hoping to buy a house after passing her accountancy exams. I hope it goes for a good price.’

Ian Shirley, Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide editor, said: ‘This is one of those Holy Grail items, like the original Quarrymen acetate that the band recorded themselves.

‘This acetate is a unique item that, in many respects, helped Brain Epstein to start the ball rolling to musical world domination. It will fascinate Beatles collectors worldwide and no doubt attract bids from those with deep pockets.’

Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn said in his book, Tune In, the uniqueness of the disc is ‘enhanced by Brian Epstein’s handwriting on the labels, and the recognition of what it led to.’

Earlier this week, a lock of John Lennon’s hair that was cut as he prepared to appear in a film sold for £24,000 at an auction in Dallas.

Other items sold at auction include a photograph signed by all four Beatles which fetched £30,000 and a sealed copy of the band’s ‘butcher’ cover for the ‘Yesterday and Today’ album went for £87,000.

Beatles memorabilia has remained some of the most sought-after and last year a Gibson acoustic guitar belonging to John Lennon sold for £1.7 million.

But for record collectors the earliest records of the Beatles are the prize – the number one being The Quarrymen That’ll Be The Day/In Spite of All the Danger, a 1958 acetate which is valued at £200,000

In July 1958, a young Paul McCartney visited a recording studio for the first time with The Quarrymen. The five-piece – John Lennon, George Harrison, John ‘Duff’ Lowe on piano and Colin Hanlon on drums and Paul McCartney paid either 11 or 17 shillings and 6d for the pressing. The acetate was passed around when the Quarry Men split, and ended up with John ‘Duff’ Lowe.

The sale is to take place at Omega Auctions in Warrington on 22 March and will be broadcast live online for worldwide bidding.

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