The Daily Mail reports that the tapes appear to have been retained after the failed Decca audition by band manager Brian Epstein, who gave it to an EMI executive. The executive sold it in 2002 to a music memorabilia collector, who is now selling it off at auction for 30,000 pounds, or around $47,844.
The Decca Audition occurred in London on New Years Day, 1962, according to the Beatles Bible, and 15 songs were recorded at the session.
The group had previously been rejected by numerous labels and were forced to perform the audition tired and somewhat unprepared: still, their rejection by the Decca label came as a surprise.
According to the Telegraph, the group were rejected by Decca executive Dick Rowe, who claimed that guitar groups were "on their way out"—in a business decision considered among the most foolish in history.
The Beatles Bible reports that Rowe did sign the Rolling Stones, however.
The Beatles would eventually be signed by EMI, and would then begin their meteoric rise to fame.
According to the Daily Mail, the recording is in "pristine" condition, and of much higher quality than the bootleg recordings of the Decca audition that currently exist.
Here's a track from the original audition: