A critical piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia is to go on sale next month, with the news that the first ever recording contract signed by The Beatles is to go under the hammer in New York.

The Associated Press reports that the contract, believed to have been signed when The Fab Four were in Hamburg, Germany in 1961 serving as backing band for Tony Sheridan on the song ‘My Bonnie’, will be up for auction alongside about 300 other pop music artefacts sold by the estate of Uwe Blaschke, a German record producer and graphic designer who died in 2010.

The BeatlesA fresh-faced Fab Four at the start of their career

Heritage Auctions, who are handling the sale, expect the six-page contract – signed by The Beatles’ original drummer Pete Best before Ringo Starr joined – to fetch approximately $150,000 when the auction is held on September 19th. Dean Harmeyer, consignment director at the auction house, called it “perhaps the most historically important Beatles document to ever appear at auction.”

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Though the contract stipulates that the group was only paid $80 for the recording, and though ‘My Bonnie’ was only a modest success in Britain, it led to a crucial development in the band’s career. Brian Epstein, later to become their manager and at that point a record label talent scout, was won over and went to check out the fledgling group at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. And the rest, as they say, is history.

“Without this contract, which directly led to their involvement with Brian Epstein, The Beatles may have never been able achieve their later success as a recording group. And at the time it was a momentous career milestone – they’d finally secured an actual recording deal, something they had only dreamed of before ‘My Bonnie’,” Harmeyer continued.

Other items going under the hammer include a photo of George Harrison modelling his first leather jacket in Hamburg, an autographed copy of the group’s first single as The Beatles ‘Love Me Do’, and a number of John Lennon manuscripts.

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