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"Fifth Beatle" Articles To Be Sold

LONDON (Reuters) - The letters and art of the ``Fifth Beatle'' Stuart Sutcliffe are to be sold, says auctioneer Fleetwood Owen. Some 400 items, including correspondence between Sutcliffe and the Beatles, drawings, photographs and his first guitar will be auctioned as one lot in a sealed bid sale, the auctioneer said on Friday. ``The collection is full of wonderful things, wonderful artwork, fabulously interesting letters, poetry, sketch books, all delightful and beautiful things to look at,'' said Sutcliffe's sister Pauline, who is selling the material. Stuart Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage just six months before the Beatles reached the hit parade in 1962. Sutcliffe, whose short life was the subject of the 1994 film ``Backbeat,'' had become best friends with John Lennon after meeting him at Liverpool Art School in 1959. Lennon persuaded him to sell one of his paintings and buy a guitar, which survived to be included in the auction. It was a Hofner electric bass which George Harrison later recalled Sutcliffe ``had no idea how to play.'' In the summer of 1960, the Silver Beatles -- Sutcliffe, Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and soon-to-be-demoted drummer Pete Best -- went to play in seedy nightclubs in Hamburg's red light district. In Hamburg, Sutcliffe met and fell in love with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, whose photographs of the early Beatles also form part of the collection. Sutcliffe left the band in 1961 and resumed his studies at Hamburg School of Art. He died in the German city in April 1962 at the age of 21. The pop memorabilia, which includes Sutcliffe's designs for the Beatles famous buttoned-up suits and ``moptop'' haircuts, is expected to fetch up to $4.375 million. Before the sale the mementos will go on display in New York in October and in London in November. Specialist music auctioneer Fleetwood Owen will conduct the sale, which includes full copyright over all the items, between November 27 and December 7. A book by Pauline Sutcliffe about her brother, ``The Beatles' Shadow: Stuart Sutcliffe and his Lonely Hearts' Club,'' is published next month. By Tim Castle
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