The Beatles’ Dinnertime Drawings Head to Auction

They illustrated it at Candlestick Park in 1966

Beatles, 1966
Policemen clear the field of enthusiastic fans as The Beatles perform on a bandstand in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California.
Bettmann Archive

When you think of The Beatles’ non-musical pursuits, what comes to mind? Paul McCartney’s poetry may be the first thing, but the Fab Four’s visual side shouldn’t be discounted, either. At least, that’s one of the takeaways you might get upon learning of the latest high-profile auction related to The Beatles — the pending sale of a tablecloth the group drew on as they dined prior to their Candlestick Park concert in 1966.

That Candlestick Park concert holds a very specific place in Beatles history — it was the last concert they played as a band. (At least, the last one they played in a traditional venue; their rooftop concert was still a few years ahead of them.) Bonhams is selling the tablecloth as part of its “Legends of Music” online auction, running through October 19, along with items connected to the likes of Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.

An article at The Washington Post has more details on the tablecloth and how it came to be heading to auction now. The family of Joe Vilardi, whose catering business provided the band their meal, is putting the tablecloth up for auction. Vilardi noticed that the Beatles — and Joan Baez, who was also present — had drawn a host of designs and images on it, and returned with the tablecloth to his business’s office.

The Post notes that the tablecloth hung in the window for less than a week before being stolen — though recently, it made its way back to the family, gravy stains and all.

Bidding is open for the tablecloth, with the starting bid set at $15,000. Bonhams estimates that it will sell for between that amount and $25,000. Could this make history in a very different way? Stay tuned.

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