Record Prices Bring Rare Concert Posters to Auction

More Legendary Concert Posters Coming Your Way This Fall! Browse posters from Hank Williams, Grateful Dead and The Beatles.

YOU DON’T KNOW THIS YET, but you will now… somehow, someway, we’re offering three more gigantic concert posters in our November 6 auction that represent the peak of the hobby… another Hank Williams 1953 Canton, another FD-26 Skeleton & Roses graded 9.6, and another Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium. These are not recycled specimens of posters we’ve sold previously… these are all brand new to Heritage.

How on earth?  These things are supposed to be very few & far between. Well, the answer is simple: money.

It’s just like any other aspect of business… once prices hit a certain level, people who had no interest in selling before suddenly become interested.

There continue to be only three known copies of the Hank Williams Canton, Ohio concert poster for the show he died en route to. But what our $150,000 world-record sale price did two auctions ago was shake loose one of the other two. We certainly can’t blame them. So there may be a perception that this gem is “less rare,” now that it’s appearing in two out of three HA auctions, but the reality is, it’s just as rare as it was before.

With the top psychedelic poster in the hobby, the FD-26 Grateful Dead Skeleton & Roses, the CGC grading company does not make available population reports of how many they’ve graded in each condition. So we don’t know how many 9.6’s there are out there, but of course, there can’t be many. That’s why we got $84,375 for the last 9.6 we sold (signed by Mouse). So the owner of our upcoming 9.6 probably thought, “Yeah, for that kind of money, I’m going to move my favorite poster along.” Even though, of course, there’s never a guarantee what anything will sell for.

Grateful Dead Skeleton and Roses

And as for the Beatles 1966 Shea, it defies logic how we’ve now had four individuals in the last two years pull theirs out of the woodwork and present it to Heritage for auction. Once again, for the fourth straight time: Not a dealer, not even a collector, and no other concert posters in their possession; just a family member with history with this concert and an heirloom somebody happened to have saved for half-a-century. And once that first $100,000+ price for a Beatles Shea was realized by us two years ago, a lot more people started searching their memories and then their attics.

The Beatles concert poster shea stadium

That’s the business angle; let’s not forget about the music.  If you comprised a playlist featuring the best of the Beatles, Hank Williams, and the Grateful Dead, that’s certainly a playlist I could take to a desert island and be content with for the rest of my life.

Happy watching, bidding, and collecting!

Pete Howard

Director, Concert Posters

Posted by Pete Howard

Pete Howard is Director of Concert Posters for Heritage Auctions.

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