By Peter Lindblad
The media’s fascination with Jimi Hendrix hasn’t dimmed, despite the fact he’s been dead for almost 40 years now.
Recently, the main catalyst for renewed interest in the incomparable guitarist has been the release of his posthumous album Valleys Of Neptune.
Still, there are other reasons. One is the recent death of famed rock ’n’ roll photographer Jim Marshall, known best perhaps for catching Hendrix setting fire to his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival.
When it comes to Hendrix memorabilia, posters, handbills, concert tickets, used guitars and clothing, autographed items (be sure to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of a certain artist’s handwriting before getting involved in autograph collecting), vintage magazines and photos are among the most prized items.
According to the “Goldmine Price Guide To Rock ’N’ Roll Memorabilia,” collectors should should take note of a couple of key time periods.
Author Mark Allen Baker explains in the book that there isn’t much memorabilia connected to Hendrix’s arrival in London in August 1966, aside from a few photographs and some advertisements. Also, some direct marketing material, like flyers and handouts, associated with the release of “Hey Joe” b/w “Stone Free” are collector's items from the period.
For beginners, pay close attention to the year 1967, writes Baker, who explains that “nearly half (48.4 percent) of the artist’s career live performances occurred during these 12 months.” With regard to posters, according to Baker’s book, standouts include the Fillmore/Winterland “Bill Graham Presents ... (BGP)” specimen, featuring a flying eyeball with tentacles. The Rick Griffin design is a popular one, having often been reprinted and even pirated, according to Baker.
There is also the Fillmore “Bill Graham Presents In New York ... (BGP)”, with original artwork done by David Byrd/Fantasy Unlimited. Though interest for New York show posters does not run quite as hot as it does for their West Coast cousins, this one can fetch four figures.
What about some sales? In March, a limited-edition serigraph signed by Rick Griffin went for $2,999 on eBay. Also, a CGC photo of Hendrix singing by Ken Regan sold for $97. So, prices, as they usually do, vary for different items.
Checking Heritage Auction’s 2010 April Signature Music & Entertainment Memorabilia auction (www.ha.com), there are eight items up for sale, including a Jimi Hendrix Experience Postcard/Ticket Uncut Proof Sheet BG-105 (Bill Graham, 1968) that’s estimated to go for $1,500. Other posters are expected go for $500 to $700.