After more than 50 years: tablecloth with Beatles drawings appears

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After more than 50 years
Tablecloth with Beatles drawings appears

In 1966 the Beatles also played in the US. Before a concert in San Francisco, they immortalize themselves on a tablecloth, painting a sunset and portraits. The caterer hands out the tablecloth, ennobled by the music legends, and it is stolen shortly afterwards. Now she’s back – and should be making a lot of money.

A tablecloth on which all four members of the legendary British band The Beatles scribbled drawings and their names in 1966 has resurfaced after 55 years. The unique piece of band history came about when the musicians fortified themselves for a concert in San Francisco, USA, with steaks – which Joe Vilardi’s catering company had supplied along with the tablecloth.

A sunset, multiple portraits, faces and eyes – in addition to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, singer Joan Baez also immortalized herself on the piece of white linen fabric.

Hardly on display, already stolen

Instead of washing the tablecloth, Joe Vilardi displayed it in his shop window – from which it was stolen just a week later.

More than 50 years later, Vilardi’s grandson, Michael Vilardi, got a call from Texas. “It was a lady who asked if our family had a catering business in San Francisco, and I got the feeling she knew something about the tablecloth,” Vilardi said.

tablecloth as payment for debts

It turned out that the caller’s brother was in possession of the tablecloth and didn’t know what to do with it, Vilardi said. So the man had received it as payment for a debt from someone. Since it was stolen, he couldn’t sell it, so his sister persuaded him to return it to its rightful owner.


The Beatles on their 1966 world tour.

(Photo: Image Images/Kyodo News)

Now the tablecloth is up for auction in an online auction. Auction house Bonhams estimates she could fetch up to $25,000 by the end of the auction on October 19.

By 1966, the Beatles, who broke through in 1962, had long been at the peak of their careers – already gradually taking their leave of the stage and public appearances. Also because the screams of the mostly female fans drowned out the music. On May 1, 1966, the Beatles appeared on a British concert stage for the last time. In the summer of 1966, the Beatles went on a world tour – which also took them to San Francisco.

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