DALLAS — It has always been the most famous concert poster in the world: The Beatles at Shea Stadium, on Aug. 23, 1966. But during Heritage Auctions‘ Nov. 6 Music Memorabilia & Concert Posters Signature® Auction, an example of the bright yellow cardboard advert featuring the Fab Four tied the record for the world’s most expensive concert poster, selling for $150,000.
That equals the world record set in May 2021, when a poster for Hank Williams’ two shows scheduled for New Year’s Day 1953 at the Canton Memorial Auditorium in Ohio sold at Heritage for $150,000. Williams never made it to those concerts: He died en route.
Another poster from that Williams concert sold during the auction for $137,500. One of only a handful known to exist, this one was discovered in an Ohio barn by the family of Steve Gaydos, Executive Vice President of Global Content and Executive Editor of Variety, the entertainment-industry trade magazine. Gaydos consigned the poster to Heritage after seeing May’s record-setting results.
A third iconic poster also sold Saturday for six figures: the beloved Family Dog Skeleton and Roses poster that barked about the Grateful Dead’s September 1966 show, played just two weeks after the band inked its deal with Warner Bros. The poster proved a must-have for myriad reasons, among them that it is credited to “Mouse Studios 66,” which in this case meant artists Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, and its rating of CGC Near Mint+ 9.6. The Dead poster fetched $109,375. That’s a lot of Ripple.
The entirety of the auction realized $1,505,523, and counted among its myriad highlights a 44-page program from the Northern Premiere of A Hard Day’s Night signed by all the Beatles, which sold for $93,750, and a signed Michael Jackson red-leather jacket gifted after a performance at Madison Square Garden in 1988, which sold for $87,500. More than 1,400 bidders attended the auction, and the event boasted a 98.49% sell-through rate by value.
But most significantly, the sale marked the first time in auction-house history that three concert posters in one auction sold for more than $100,000.
“It’s a strong testament to the growth of the concert-poster hobby that three posters would all sell for north of $100,000 on the same day,” said Pete Howard, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Concert Posters. “And what’s great is that they’re not all of the same genre: You have British-invasion rock, country music and San Francisco psychedelia. The tide in this hobby is rising, and all genres of concert posters are rising with it.”
“It was a race to the finish line today, and the Beatles edged out Hank Williams, who finished ahead of the Grateful Dead,” Howard added. “Talk about something for everybody’s taste!”
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