This Beatles-Signed Garden Gnome Prop Can Be Yours for Just $25,000

The gnome was part of the iconic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover.

Photo: Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

A cardboard garden gnome from the cover of the Beatles legendary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band will hit the auction block on April 18 as part of Heritage Auctions‘ entertainment and music memorabilia sale. The prop was signed by all four band members following pop artist and designer Peter Blake’s album cover photo shoot.

Consignment director Dean Harmeyer calls the figure “a true rarity and a cornerstone piece of any Beatles collection.”

The set of the shoot was filled with life-size paper cutouts of famous figures including Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, and Aldous Huxley, which were crowded behind the band. Smaller items, like the gnome, were placed in front. On the cover, the cardboard gnome sits just to the right of George Harrison’s leg.

The concept for the cover—people and things that the band liked—was based on an ink drawing by Paul McCartney. Each band member selected a handful of famous figures to be made into cutouts, but had to obtain approval from many of the stars themselves in order to use their likeness (see The Top 12 Album Covers Designed by Famous Artists).

The gnome was kept as a momento by photography assistant Michael Cooper when the shoot wrapped on March 30, 1967. The item has a buyers premium of $17,500 and a current online bid of $14,000 (online bidding began March 30 and will culminate in a live auction that will run April 18-19). It is expected to hammer for as much as $25,000.

Also featured in the auction is a grand piano once owned by flamboyant rocker Liberace—the first to resurface since the 1988 sale of 12 of the entertainer’s pianos. The piano is estimated to sell for $15,000. There is also an original poster for the 1979 punk film Rock n’ Roll High School, estimated to sell for $5,000, and four lots of rare animation art relating to the short-lived Beatles cartoon television series.

If $25,000 is a bit out of your budget for a garden gnome, check out the artist-designed Noam Chomsky-themed gnome, which won’t run you more than $175 (see Gnome Chomsky Lawn Art Sure to Politicize Your Garden).

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