The Beatles left behind a mess in their makeshift dressing room before their final paid concert on August 29, 1966. During their pre-show meal, they splattered their tablecloth with food and marked it up with doodles and signatures. The colorful piece of memorabilia is now valued at least $15,000, and after a dramatic journey, it’s finally headed to auction, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Caterer Joe Vilardi, the owner of Simpson’s Catering, was delighted when he saw the state of his tablecloth after feeding The Beatles before their famous Candlestick Park performance in San Francisco. He displayed the sheet in the window of his Clement Street shop, where it attracted crowds of fans. But its time in the spotlight was cut short; after six days, a thief broke the glass and made off with the collector’s item. The Vilardis spent decades tracking down its whereabouts without any luck.
The family had given up hope of finding it by the time Michael Vilardi, the grandson of the late Joe Vilardi, received a call in March 2021. A Texas woman claimed that her brother had received the stolen tablecloth through a debt dispute decades ago, and now they wanted to return it to its rightful owners. The Vilardis were elated by the news, but they agreed not to keep the pop culture artifact in their possession for very long. By auctioning it off, they hope to find it a home where it can be displayed for the public to see.
The 56-year-old item features “acid-inspired“ sketches from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Joan Baez, who had joined the Fab Four for dinner that night. Starr’s autograph is visible in black ink and Harrison’s appears in red. McCartney’s signature is missing, but there is an inscription reading “did not lay a hand on this table“ with an arrow beneath the name Paul McCartney pointing at it.
The 14-inch by 17.5-inch cotton tablecloth is being auctioned online through Bonhams from October 7 through the 19th. The auction house estimates it will sell for $15,000 to $25,000.
[h/t Los Angeles Times]