Frenzied bidding for wax Beatles heads

Last updated at 11:14 28 October 2005

A set of rare wax Beatles heads used on the legendary Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover and discovered in a back room at Madame Tussauds have been sold for £81,500.

The busts of John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison - together with a version of Paul McCartney from a later date - were the subject of frenzied bidding at the famous wax museum last night.

They had been presumed missing until just weeks ago, when an employee unearthed them in a forgotten corner.

"They hadn't been seen for almost 20 years," a spokesman for auction house Cooper Owen said. "They're incredibly rare. Obviously there are various Beatles heads but these are on the most famous album cover of all time."

The John, Ringo and George waxworks sold are those seen on the left wearing dark suits on the iconic pop art cover, looking at the psychedelically-attired "Lonely Hearts Club Band" - also The Beatles - in the centre. They were borrowed from Madame Tussauds for the shoot, which took place in 1967.

Artist Sir Peter Blake used 62 photographic enlargements to create the backdrop, while the real Beatles posed at the front.

"You wouldn't think that anyone would be willing to pay this much for some wax," Cooper Owen creative director Louise Cooper said.

"But this isn't any old wax - these heads truly represent a slice of music history. We're delighted their value was recognised by the lucky buyer."

Also sold last tonight was the Diana Dors portrait bust which also features on the cover, which went for £15,000.

A pair of signature Beatles jackets tailored for Lennon and used in the pre-promotion of Hard Day's Night raised £65,000.

All prices include the buyer's premium.

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