Phoenix man finds 8mm film of the Beatles - is it worth anything?

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Nearly 50 years after the lads from Liverpool made music history, a Valley man could have never-before-seen footage of the Fab Four.

"Well, what I have is a vintage, 1960s film of the Beatles and, just from what it looks like, and I'm not an expert in vintage films but it appears to be…when they came to America."

David Silver is right. He says his grandmother let him have the film that was taken of the Beatles when they first came to America. He says it sat on his shelf for 10 years but he has been wondering if it was valuable.

"I don't know how many there are out there, I mean, this could be the only one…there might be others. I don't know what the value is, of course as soon as you leave this will go in the safe."  

Unfortunately for Silver, the trip to the safe is probably not necessary. 3TV wondered just what he had as well and, while the company that did the dub for him confirmed the film he brought in did have the Beatles on it, an expert in the bands memorabilia had some bad news for Silver. Mike Nattboy explains, "It looks like a multi-generational copy of a copy of a copy of some semi raw footage of some film crew who shot this."

Nattboy has spent the last seven years dealing in Beatles vinyl and memorabilia. He took at look at Silver’s video for 3TV. "There's valuable footage, but because the Beatles are so famous, it wouldn't be of the public footage. The valuable footage is of them in their private lives where nobody has seen that footage before.”

Usually it is not film that people find in the attic that has value. It us often memorabilia of the Fab Four, such as a ticket from Dodgers Stadium where they played one of their last concerts in 1966 or a Ringo Starr autograph from a movie he did with Peter Sellers, who only signs his last name with a star symbol these days.  

There is also a premiere booklet from 1969 and he signed it at the premiere and he signed his whole name, which is an unusual autograph nowadays.

Autographed or not, it is the Beatles records that can bring in the real money. Unfortunately what most of us have, is only of value to us. Nattboy explains, "Whether it’s an email or a phone call, people contact me. They have a Beatles album they bought in the 60s and they think it might be valuable. Ninety-five percent of the time it's a run-of-the-mill kind of thing."

Nattboy says finding rare vinyl is difficult and most of his deals are with people selling off collections.

His most recent sale were The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today albums. It was in mint condition with the original "butcher" cover, which so many objected to, concealed by a slick pasted over it. Nattboy says, "There were many that got out with the photo slick pasted over the original slick and I had recently a sealed one of those, never opened, in mint condition that I just recently sold." That album sold for over $9,000.

Silver is not totally out of luck. He did have the fun of seeing that great film of the Beatles getting off the airplane in New York for the first time ever.

To contact Mike Nattboy, a Beatles Memorabilia expert who lives in the Valley, go to Micro Groove Records.