Heritage’s May 11 – 14 Music Memorabilia & Concert Posters Signature® Auction includes so many iconic items that it would be impossible to include them all in one blog. These pieces of history rarely make public appearances at all, much less in one place. Here’s a look at some of the eye-poppers worth watching!
Heritage has plenty of historical tidbits to say about these items, so we’ll let them!
The biggest participants and watchers in this hobby have been telling me for weeks that this will easily be the biggest auction, value-wise, in the history of concert posters. From the Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium to the 9.8 graded & signed Hendrix flying eyeball to the John F. Kennedy rarity with Marilyn Monroe on it – and yes, to a few Nirvana posters as well – the breadth and depth of this auction, drawn from many many consignors, is simply thrilling.”
Pete Howard; Director of Concert Posters, Heritage Auctions
The Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium NY Concert Poster
Back in 2004, the concert poster hobby was rocked back on its heels when It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll in New York sold this Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium concert poster at auction for a then-world record of $132,736. The price was staggering, far eclipsing any other concert poster sale, public or private, at the time. Few people knew it initially, but the buyer was one Jim Cook out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a legendary collector and investor.
Well, it’s time for those chickens to come home to roost.
What we have here is the original, first-ever big-ticket concert poster that once raised eyebrows worldwide a generation ago, but which is now established as the expected price tier for the hobby’s most elite posters… the six-figure mark. (Heritage has sold 13 concert posters for over $100,000 in the last four years. The last Beatles ’66 Shea we sold? $275,000, a year ago.)
All this fuss is over an original cardboard window card advertising John, Paul, George and Ringo on their last-ever tour appearing at New York’s Shea Stadium on Tuesday, August 23, 1966. This was only six days away from their final show ever at Candlestick Park, and then the Fabs hung it up for good.
Like last year’s specimen, this one remains untouched by conservation experts, being sold “as-is” because it’s simply in great shape for its age. Not flawless, but in solid enough condition that no repair work or restoration was needed, and seeing the pictures, we’re sure you’ll agree.
While relatively simple and straightforward in presentation, at the same time this 1966 poster is a masterwork of charisma, color, type fonts, our heroes’ faces and, of course, rarity. How many did Sid have printed up? Nobody knows. A couple hundred is a good guess, with a range ultimately of anywhere from 100 to 500.
Elvis Presley 1957 Tupelo, MS Concert Poster from Colonel Tom Parker’s Scrapbooks w/Graceland LOP
An original cardboard window card advertising Elvis Presley making a homecoming appearance “Tonight Only” at the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair in his birth city of Tupelo, Mississippi on Friday night, September 27, 1957. This was just three days after RCA Records had released his latest #1 single, “Jailhouse Rock.”
For collectors, the best news of all is the Letter of Provenance that comes with it… on gold-embossed Graceland stationery, signed by an executive. It assures us that this specimen came directly from the scrapbooks of Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks in the recent hit biopic). Now that’s what you call a provenance grand-slam home run.
As for the poster, it’s not too often you run across a one-day, day-of-concert poster that didn’t need a date because it just says “Tonight.” It’s hard to imagine very many were made, with only one morning to post them – just a few dozen, maybe 100 max? And then 98% were thrown away afterward, especially with no photo of Elvis on there. This is one of just two known copies of this poster to exist; Heritage sold the only other one last summer (for $30,000).
Old records show that this poster was printed by Hatch Show Print out of Nashville, TN. There were no reserved seats and admission was $2.00. It was announced in advance that 10,000 tickets would be sold, but it turns out 12,000 people attended, so they went over – no surprise there. Why not? It was a charity show, so the more the merrier.
BG-105 Jimi Hendrix 1968 “Flying Eyeball” Concert Poster Signed by Rick Griffin, Graded 9.8
Not only is this the very first 9.8-graded copy of this poster ever to be publicly sold or auctioned, but there also hasn’t even been a 9.6 to hit the auction block before. And this is the highest grade that’s known to exist; there are no 9.9s or 10s extant. And then to have Griffin’s signature on there is an unimaginable cherry on the cake, as Rick tragically passed away a third of a century ago at the young age of 47.
Check out our blog on this amazing entry HERE.
Nirvana 1994 Cologne, Germany Concert Poster
This is an original first-printing European concert poster for grunge heroes Nirvana playing a gig scheduled for March 14, 1994, but which ended up getting cancelled, along with several other European and UK dates, after Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain attempted suicide in Rome in early March.
It features the beautiful and compelling artwork of the band’s In Utero album, making it very popular with fans. The last time they played with Cobain was in Munich on March 1. After a brief stint in rehab, Cobain committed suicide on April 5. Measures 23 ¼” x 33″ and grades to Near Mint Minus condition. COA from Heritage Auctions.
The Rolling Stones 1964 Second-Tour U.S. Concert Poster, Dayton, OH
An original concert-advertising window card for The Rolling Stones playing a show in Dayton, Ohio on Friday night, November 13, 1964. This was only the group’s second American tour, and their first tour in June had hit only eight U.S. cities. This second jaunt in the fall, itself consisting of only 12 cities, coincided with the band achieving their first-ever Top 20 hit in America the very week of this show, “Time Is on My Side.”
The poster features a great, very popular design of red, white & blue (very possibly an intentional color choice) utilizing fun pop-art fonts and two early publicity photos taken back in London. When this poster was designed, the Stones had yet to hit the American Top 20 with anything. (Just “Tell Me” at #24 in Billboard, and “It’s All Over Now” at #26.)
The poster may be terrific, but the show was sort of a dud. But then maybe that adds to its early, innocent charm. According to the newspaper review, the 6,000-capacity Hara Arena held less than 1,000 Stones fans at showtime. They might as well have been in a nightclub. Most amazing of all, Mick Jagger & company played only six songs in less than 20 minutes! And then called it a night. The 10 songs they had in rotation for this tour were the above three singles plus “Not Fade Away” (of course), “Around and Around,” “Off the Hook,” “I’m All Right,” “If You Need Me,” “Carol” and “I’m a Kingbee.”
The last time Heritage sold a copy of this poster, it went for $18,750 in Near Mint Minus condition (2020). Measures 14″ x 22″ and grades to Very Good condition. From the David Swartz Concert Poster Collection. COA from Heritage Auctions.
A word from Heritage:
I’m pretty knocked out by the quality and volume of this sale. There’s no need for hype because anyone can see the sheer number of posters ahead of the auction, all the high grades and figure their approximate values. It’s lovely the way everything just came together so well for our Spring auction.
I was pretty stunned that between Thursday’s and Saturday’s auctions, we’re offering almost 100 posters that were graded by CGC between 9.6 and 10. A hundred! At Near Mint Plus or better. That’s going to happily force many collectors to make some tough choices for their collections this week!
Pete Howard; Director of Concert Posters, Heritage Auctions
There is NO shortage of amazing items in this auction. Even if you aren’t bidding, it’s worth taking a look at the history behind these pieces, some of which are one-of-a-kind.
*This blog is not intended to constitute investment advice and is to be used for informational purposes only.