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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Beatles suitcase 'full of fakes'
The suitcase which was thought to be full of Beatles memorabilia
The case's discovery made headlines last month
A suitcase believed full of long-lost Beatles material turned out to be full of photocopies made in the 1990s, a leading expert on the band has said.

The suitcase was apparently bought at a flea market in Australia, and was said to be full of concert programmes, photos and unreleased recordings.

But expert Pete Nash examined the contents and found laser-scanned photos from the 1990s and no rare tapes.

"It's farcical, really," Mr Nash, of the British Beatles Fan Club, said.

The collection had been thought to have belonged to former Beatles sound recordist Mal Evans, who died in 1976 after being shot by police in Los Angeles. His belongings were lost during the subsequent investigation.

The case's discovery made headlines around the world last month. It had reportedly cost less than 20.

But Mr Nash said many of the items in the suitcase appeared to be fakes, including ticket stubs for the band's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the premiere of A Hard Day's Night which were reproduced from images that appeared in a book.

"There was nothing to tie it to Mal Evans whatsoever."

Common bootlegs

Mr Nash added that when he asked to see the reel-to-reel tapes, he was told they were locked in a bank vault.

"They said the tapes were still housed in their metal canisters," he said.

"Audio tape is magnetic. One thing you do not do is store it in metal canisters."

Mr Nash said he was played some tracks on CD - but said they were very common bootleg tracks "that most Beatles collectors would own".

Beatles memorabilia can still command high prices at auction - and the Mal Evans archive has a particular fascination.

In 1997, Sir Paul McCartney obtained an injunction to stop Evans' widow from selling a scrap of paper bearing the original lyrics to With A Little Help From My Friends.

Evans completed a book about the band, but the manuscript was lost after his death.

Mr Nash said: "All his personal effects were sent back to the UK, including his ashes, but none of it arrived. I think it's still lost in the mail."

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