When an original Beatles photograph is sans autograph and fetches $999.00 on eBay it’s certain to have a story behind it. This photo was taken at Palais Ballroom in Adlershot, a military town in northeast Hampshire in December 1961. The clincher; there were only 18 people in the audience and Mersey Beat photographer Dick Matthews captured the void quite vividly.

Now referred to as the Beatles' “lost gig” it’s clear that this is a mishap; just look at John Lennon’s face as it painfully reflects the absence of an audience. The previous night the Beatles played for thousands of fans who showed up at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton to see a total of seven acts perform.

The Mersey Beat website describes it as a mix up between Liverpool promoter Sam Leach and the local newspaper the Aldershot News. “Sam maintains he booked a sizeable advert in the newspaper and sent a cheque down to cover the cost. The newspaper maintained that adverts placed by new customers had to be pre-paid in cash. The advert never appeared and nor did the fans.”

Obviously the Beatles were unhappy with the tiny audience but Paul McCartney is said to have rallied the band into pulling together with a “Let's show them we’re professionals” pep talk before they took the stage.

Who are the two young ladies who have their backs to the band? Why are the other 16 kids dancing so far away from the stage and paying no attention to George Harrison playing into his small amp sitting on the chair? Why is the big question that makes this photo so valuable? Complete with copyright stamp and publication notes on the back, it’s worth more than a thousand words; it’s worth a thousand bucks.