A French Beatles fan is set to sell 15,000 items of memorabilia, hoping that it will pay for his retirement.
Jacques Volcouve will see his collection of 15,000 records, signed books, posters, autographs, figurines and memorabilia go on sale at the prestigious Drouot auction house in Paris in March 2017.
Speaking to The Observer, Volcouve said; “The Beatlemania bug bit me and I was never cured of it. I listened to the album and I thought the music was incredible. From then on, I wanted everything to do with the Beatles: records; newspaper clips, posters, memorabilia… everything.”
Volcouve’s career as France’s foremost “Beatles historian” began in the early 1970s, after he kept calling a French radio station to point out errors in a BBC series about the Beatles that they were airing, and was invited into the studio.
“What I wanted...was to share my pleasure and passion for the Beatles and in some way make sure that everything said about them was correct,” he said. “I took in some of the recordings I had and the radio station had its archives, and we added material to the BBC series [The Beatles Story] so that the 12 hours that was broadcast in the UK became 18 hours of material in France. It was so successful that it was re-broadcast twice in the same year.
“From then on, I was introduced to everyone as the Beatles specialist,” he revealed. Volcouve has met Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in person and claims to have met Yoko Ono.
“The Beatles were a cultural renaissance. In my view, everything we have today in the way of artistic culture goes back to them,” Volcouve said. “For me personally, their importance is that while other musicians gave people pleasure, the Beatles gave people happiness.”
“I don’t want to sound bitter but I gave my life to them [the band] and I’ve never had any recognition or help, not even a free ticket to a concert,” said Volcouve. “For many years I was insufferable because all I talked about was the Beatles. I tried to find a professional job but in the end I was always the ‘Beatles historian’, and every time I had any money I spent it on Beatles stuff.”
“Still, George [Harrison] told me in 1977 that if just one person appreciates your work then it hasn’t been a waste of time, and I know the things I have done over the last 40 years have been important to many people,” he continued.
“John wrote a song for Ringo that was never published about life beginning at 40. For me, life will begin at 60. I will go on loving the Beatles but the collection had become like an octopus whose tentacles were strangling me.
“I hope the sale will give me enough money to live on decently until I die, and my collection will have a new life with someone else,” Volcouve said.
The auction of his Beatles collection will be held at the Hotel Drouot on March 18, 2017.