On April 10, 1970, the Beatles were said to have officially broken up, and to commemorate the weighty occasion, Julien's Auctions offered more than 250 items of Fab Four memorabilia on Friday. Reuters reports that included among the pieces sold off were the wooden stage from a Liverpool venue where the Beatles had their very first advertised gig, before they got big ($25,600); a brass floor-standing ashtray used by Ringo Starr at Abbey Road Studios (that went for $35,200); and a Ludwig-brand bass drumhead the band used for its opening concert during its first North America in 1964 (that took in $200,000). But the really big draw: a plain sheet of paper with Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics to "Hey Jude," which the band used during a July 1968 recording session.
Early estimates on what the lyrics would go for hovered between $160,000 and $180,000, but the ultimate selling price was way beyond that: $910,000. "It's obviously a very iconic song that everyone's familiar with," says Julian's music specialist Jason Watkins. "These handwritten lyrics were used in the studio as a guide when they were recording it." The Beatles auction had originally been planned as an online sale, as well as at New York City's Hard Rock Cafe, but due to coronavirus lockdowns, the auction was made online only. (Read more Beatles stories.)