A business man in Bratton is crafting limited edition replicas of the contract signed between The Beatles and manager Brian Epstein, to mark its 50th anniversary.
Rob Smith, 49, who runs a framing business on the West Wilts Trading Estate, has spent three years in a painstaking quest to re-create the musical milestone.
Using period materials, the 10,000 replicas are hand-stitched, with the correct revenue stamps and solicitor’s enclosure seals.
Mr Smith said the original document – worth an estimated £500,000 and signed by the Fab Four, Epstein and also Paul McCartney’s and George Harrison’s fathers, as both were under 21 – came his way by chance.
“I get used to it when people ring up and say they have the Magna Carta in the car. I tend to take these things with a pinch of salt,” he said.
“It was only when my client turned up with it that I thought I’d better get out my white gloves and handle this with care.
“It is so valuable that the insurers won’t allow it to be displayed, so the owner wanted nine museum-grade replicas made. Only two are left. I have those.
“However, he has given me a licence to produce these copies as Beatles memorabilia for fans to own.
“I have always been interested in the forensic side of these things.
“Where other people see a bit of paper with writing on it, I see the things which have gone to put it together.”
The replicas even reproduce where John Lennon started to sign in the wrong place, before crossing it out and re-starting, as well as minor tears and marks.
Mr Smith visited the International Beatles Festival in Liverpool last month, to publicise his work.
He went to the Cavern Club and to Port Sunlight, across the Mersey, where the band first played with its final line-up.
While he was there, he showed it to a memorabilia dealer, who, he said, went very quiet. He thought it was the real thing – the most important document in rock and pop history. I am very proud after all the work that went into it.”
The replica contracts, each complete with its own presentation box, are available for £399, from the website www.nemsenterprises.co.uk