SAN FRANCISCO – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will sell vintage posters from Bill Graham, Family Dog, Grateful Dead, and others on May 15 starting at 10:30 am Pacific time. The auction features more than 100 vintage rock posters from the 1960s to 2015. Most date to the 1960s and come from one Northern California collector who acquired them over the course of 40-plus years. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The sale features an extensive selection of posters from the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Phil Lesh & Friends. Other artists include Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver, Santana, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Bob Dylan, Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Prince, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Phish, Jim Kweskin, and Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos. Many works were created by noted poster artists such as Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Rick Griffin, Harry Rossit, Lee Conklin, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, and others.
The one-owner poster collection includes a wide variety of the era’s best-known musicians and poster artists. Many are from the legendary impresario and rock concert promoter Bill Graham of Bill Graham Presents (BGP), who produced San Francisco Bay area concerts at numerous venues, including the Fillmores, Winterland, Shoreline, and the Oakland Coliseum.
Originally from New York, the owner of this collection came to Northern California because of the Grateful Dead. In Marin County, he could get good seats at concerts without standing in line for several days, as was the case in New York in the late 1970s. The passionate and dedicated Deadhead enjoyed more than 400 Grateful Dead concerts from 1973 to 1995, when Jerry Garcia passed away.
The collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, amassed more than 1,000 posters plus other rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and said the most collectible pieces are in this auction. As for becoming a poster collector, the owner said he “wasn’t given a choice – the posters came to him.” He has been an excellent steward; virtually all the posters have been stored under his bed, in vinyl sleeves on acid-free paper, in the same condition in which he received them.
Highlights of the sale include a Jimi Hendrix concert poster with a February 1, 1968 date, advertising a show at the Fillmore & Winterland. Created by Rick Griffin, the poster is a second printing made prior to the concert, and is in good condition. It is estimated at $400-$600. Also featured is a second Jimi Hendrix poster that headlines him and Jefferson Airplane in a June 20, 1967 performance at the Fillmore. The first-printing poster is in good condition and is estimated at $200-$300.
Leading the many Grateful Dead concert posters in the sale is a large poster for the band’s European tour to London and Egypt, dated May 31, 1978. As it happens, the London leg of the tour was cancelled, and the band went directly to Egypt. One of just 350 printed, this poster is in very good condition and is estimated at $200-$300.
Other Grateful Dead posters include a pair sold as one lot – the first double-bills the band with the Allman Bros. for a June 10, 1973 show at RFK Stadium, and the second is for an October 27, 1984 performance at Berkeley Community. Both images are credited to Rick Griffin, and the 1984 design is among the last Grateful Dead posters Griffin made before he died in 1991. The collector paid $9 directly to the artist, who was outside the venue, and notes that the poster was not among those sold inside. The 1973 poster is rated as very good, and the 1984 poster is in good condition. Together they are estimated at $200-$300.
Rounding out the Grateful Dead selection is a December 23, 1966 poster promoting a show by the Grateful Dead and Steve Miller at the Avalon, featuring the famed tripping Santa image by Victor Moscoso. Rated in good condition, it is estimated at $250-$350.
Another interesting combination lot pairs posters from 1993 concerts by Nirvana and Prince. The Nirvana poster, designed by Harry Rossit and touting a December 31, 1993 performance at the Oakland Coliseum, is in very good condition. The Prince show took place April 10, 1993 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Its artist is unnamed, and the poster is in very good condition. The pair are estimated at $150-$250.
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