Last week, we published a blog on the possible investment opportunity found in graded and ungraded concert posters. Due to the amount of buzz generated by that blog, today we’re looking at a few real-time auction picks from the KC Murphy Bindweed Press Collection that could change the winner’s investment portfolio dramatically over the next few years.
Unique collections of concert posters are eligible to receive a Pedigree label, and the KC Murphy Bindween Press Collection has a story behind it that rivals its comic counterparts.
During KC Murphy’s childhood in the late 1960s, she and her siblings would find themselves spending time at Frank Westlake’s famed Bindweed printing press, where her stepfather was self-printing a book he had written. After each trip, she and her parents would bring freshly printed (and often colored-on) concert posters back home to be stored in a steamer trunk in their farmhouse attic, soon to be forgotten.
Years later, Murphy went to work in the music industry. She would work on album releases at Capitol Records with artists like Paul McCartney, Poison, Queen, Heart, and Tina Turner before redirecting her career toward artist management. Some time later, she’d remember the collection in her mother’s attic and retrieve those grails of psychedelic rock.
This collection includes over 100 posters, most in immaculate condition, taken directly from the printing press 55 years ago. This auction offers the first 40 selected, with high expectations set for their final sales.
Remember all the buzz The Promise Collection started last year? A large collection, preserved for decades by the family of a young collector, high-grade Golden Age books never before seen at auction. Some comics were impossible to evaluate the value of, as another example doesn’t yet exist for comparison. Apply that curiosity to this collection, and you’ll understand the buzz humming under this collection at auction.
*All descriptions courtesy of Heritage Auctions.
This is an original first-printing concert poster for Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, plus the Merry Pranksters, playing a Hells Angels dance at Sokol Hall in San Francisco, CA on Saturday night, November 12, 1966. The poster has been graded to 9.0 Very Fine/Near Mint condition by CGC.
This poster has always owed its popularity to the jeans-jacket motif created by the graphic artist Gut (real name Allen Turk), a Hells Angel himself. Obviously, the top half of the poster might be what a biker’s “colors” look like on the back. This theme is carried all the way down to the jeans-like venue strip at the bottom. “$1.00 Per Head” continues the renegade ethos, as does “No Minors”… Hells Angels parties were not for kiddies or the faint of heart.
It was only one month after this that Big Brother & the Holding Company went into a Los Angeles recording studio and recorded their self-titled debut album for Mainstream Records. This poster measures 14 1/8″ x 20” and grades to 9.0 Very Fine/Near Mint condition. Last fall, Heritage sold a copy of this poster in 9.4 condition for $7,812.
This is a first-printing San Francisco concert poster for the Grateful Dead and Oxford Circle playing at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights, November 4 and 5, 1966. Known as FD-33 in the Family Dog numbered series, this poster was designed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley and is nicknamed “Logo.” It’s been graded 9.8 Near Mint/Mint by CGC.
These shows happened just days after Jerry Garcia had flown to Los Angeles, joined Jefferson Airplane recording Surrealistic Pillow in an RCA studio, totally rearranged “Somebody to Love” into its famous hit version, played lead guitar on a few other songs, and even helped create the album title Surrealistic Pillow. For all this, Garcia was credited as “Musical and Spiritual Advisor” on the LP jacket. Opening act the Oxford Circle were a feedback-heavy psychedelic band out of Davis, CA, about 75 miles northeast of San Francisco. It measures 13 3/4″ x 20″ and grades to 9.8 Near Mint/Mint condition, a killer grade that you don’t see very often.
More Information: One has to wonder why Mouse Studios simply blew up the company’s logo for their poster design this time. Perhaps they ran out of time, had a creative block, or simply wanted to show off the FD logo in a size never seen before. It certainly gave people a chance to see the logo’s slogan in readable size: “May the baby Jesus shut your mouth and open your mind.”
This poster represents a reunion of sorts between the Grateful Dead, Oxford Circle, Mouse & Kelley, and the Family Dog. The last time they all got together, six weeks prior, the FD-26 “Skeleton & Roses” masterpiece was created. Call this one the encore.
The current high bid on this piece is $1,650. Another CGC 9.8 sold on Jul 16, 2020 for $5,400 through Psychedelic Art Exchange.
This is a first-printing San Francisco concert poster for Big Brother & the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, the Oxford Circle, and Lee Michaels playing at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights, December 9 & 10, 1966.
Known as FD-38 in the Family Dog numbered series and nicknamed “Indian with the Swirling Eyes,” this poster was designed by Victor Moscoso and graded 9.8 Near Mint/Mint by CGC. That’s a stupendous grade for such a colorful poster that was usually put up on walls back in the day, so a grade that you rarely encounter today.
For his central image, Moscoso took the joint-smoking American Indian from the Family Dog logo and went to town with him. The hypnotic red & blue swirls throughout the poster certainly played into the LSD aesthetic that was prevalent on the scene.
Following these two nights of concerts, Big Brother would travel to Los Angeles on Sunday and record their debut Mainstream Records album, Big Brother and the Holding Company, over the next three days, December 12-14. So we certainly know exactly what they sounded like on this occasion. This piece measures 14 1/4″ x 20″ and grades to 9.8 Near Mint/Mint condition.
The current high bid for this piece is $1,350. The CGC 9,8 has a 90-day sales average of $2,280 and a 1-year average of $2,003.
This is a first-printing San Francisco concert poster for Big Brother & the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Electric Train playing at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights, October 7 and 8, 1966. Known as FD-29 in the Family Dog numbered series and nicknamed “The Woman with the Green Hair,” this poster was “designed” by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley and was graded 9.6 Near Mint Plus by CGC – a very hard-to-find high grade for such a popular poster – then and now.
If you don’t know the story behind this poster’s origin, it’s truly fascinating. Mouse and Kelley didn’t just borrow an idea, they totally nicked the design and repurposed it, just as they had for their “Zig-Zag Man” poster. Changing all the colors, of course. If you want to see what this poster’s design looked like 125 years ago, just Google “Mucha Job poster” and lots of images of Alphonse Mucha’s classic 1896 cigarette-advertising poster will show up. Your jaw will drop when you see the images; it’s entirely this poster. It was a classic in the 1800s, it was a classic in 1966, and it’s a classic now. It measures 14 1/4″ x 20″ and grades to 9.6 Near Mint Plus condition.
More Information: Janis Joplin had joined Big Brother only that summer, so was just a few months into her tenure with them.
The current high bid on this entry is $1,100.
This one is a first-printing San Francisco Bay Area concert poster for the Grateful Dead and Country Joe & the Fish playing at the Pauley Ballroom on campus at the University of California, Berkeley on Friday night, December 2, 1966. This poster’s deep colors of magenta and green and its wild, devilish artwork by Ruth Garbell (credited off the mad goat’s ear) make it very popular with collectors. To show you how young & innocent the Dead still were, they had played the tiny Matrix club in S.F. all week long leading up to this show.
This poster is not graded because it’s not in the AOR book and therefore doesn’t qualify for CGC grading yet. It measures 13″ x 20″ and grades to Near Mint condition. From the KC Murphy Bindweed Press Collection. COA from Heritage Auctions.
More Information: The only damage found is a pair of very small, light brown water stains in the bottom white bar directly under “Records.” Otherwise, it’s fresh-off-the-press mint, like most of the Bindweed collection.
The current high bid for this item is $230, already nearing commonly-realized prices.
Last but not least, let’s look at this first-printing San Francisco concert poster for Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band and the Oxford Circle at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, 1966. Known as FD-13 in the Family Dog numbered series, this poster was graded 9.8 Near Mint/Mint by CGC. That’s a rarely seen high grade on any early Family Dog poster.
Designed by the esteemed Stanley Mouse, this was the first FD or BG poster that Mouse ever did. (And that’s no bull.) If you didn’t pick up on it, the “choice” cut of beef which serves as the central image was very much a tie-in with “Captain Beefheart”. That is why there’s a red heart sneakily hidden behind it, too. And holy cow, it looks like the entire red image is a bag of feed! (Sorry to steer you away from the music for a minute, and for milking this theme dry.) It measures 14 1/4″ x 20″ and grades to 9.8 Near Mint/Mint condition.
This poster has a current high bid of $1,300. This poster has next to no past graded sales to analyze. That makes the possibilities endless when it comes to determining where this one will land.