Edinburgh-born Sutcliffe, a bassist credited with inventing the band’s name and distinctive mop-top look, died of a brain haemorrhage in 1962, before the Beatles hit the big time. He was just 21.
His sister Pauline had been guarding numerous pieces for the past 40 years, and finally decided to put 100 of them up for sale.
But many of the lots auctioned at Bonhams in London did not sell, and others went for less than the list price, a spokeswoman for the auction house said.
Sutcliffe’s birth certificate, his geography exercise books, his high school diploma and a poem entitled “Deserted Heart” all failed to find buyers.
A sketch book for admission to art school in Liverpool fared better, reaching the low end of its estimate by selling for $5,735.