If a music collector is in the market for vintage concert posters then Heritage Auctions' "Vintage Music Posters" auction (coinciding with the auction house's Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction) will be the place to bid into November 12.
The auction consists of incredible music posters such as a rare Velvet Underground beauty from 1966, a fully autographed Beatles promotion and a bunch of concert posters for Bob Dylan (including a stunning B&W handbill).
The following is a Q&A with Giles Moon, the Consignment Director Entertainment & Music Memorabilia of Heritage Auctions.
GOLDMINE: Why the decision to separate this auction from the Entertainment & Music Memorabilia auction running at the same time?
Giles Moon: Well, we felt that a collection of this quality and diversity really deserved particular recognition. The window card posters are especially rare and are seldom seen at auction ... so to see so many in one sale is exceptional.
GM: Can you talk a little about the The Plastic Inevitable Show poster (shown above). What was the significance of this show and why is this poster so rare?
Giles Moon: The show was a Andy Warhol inspired multimedia event featuring the Velvet Underground and Nico, with dancers, light shows and Warhol produced films. Although they were booked for two weeks of shows the Sheriff's Department shut the venue down after only a few days. Significantly, during their stay in L.A., the Velvet Underground signed their first recording contract with Verve. The poster is rare, not many were produced and relatively few would have survived considering the shows were so short-lived.
GM: The Beatles Year of Achievement poster (shown above) … this was reprinted from an actual page in Mersey Beat. Was this produced by Brian Epstein and for whom did The Beatles sign this for?
Giles Moon: Although we don't know if it was Brian Epstein who had the poster produced, it was probably intended for promotional purposes. It is not known who the poster was originally signed for.
GM: How much does the fact that all members signed this poster drive up the bidding? Would it be worth nearly as much if only two members had signed it?
Giles Moon: The signatures really do make a great difference to the value. Unsigned, the poster is worth less than $1,000, but with all four signatures it's possibly worth $10,000. A full set of signatures is worth considerably more than a partial set. When determining the value, it would depend which two of the four had signed the poster. A poster signed by John and Paul is worth more than one signed by George and Ringo.
GM: Isn’t it true that memorabilia signed by all four Beatles gets increasingly rare as the band’s career moves towards the end of the ‘60s?
Giles Moon: Yes, that is the case. By the end of the '60s, The Beatles were no longer touring and were far less accessible so there would have been few opportunities for fans to meet them all in the same place at the same time.
GM: Do you think Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize will drive the bidding up a lot more than the his posters are really worth?
Giles Moon: Well, I certainly think there will more interest though it will be hard to gauge if it will drive bidding up, as it's hard to determine what the real value of these posters is! They so rarely appear at auction.
GM: What other items stand out, in your opinion, in this poster auction?
Giles Moon: There are some remarkable posters featuring artists before they were famous, such as Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin — some are the earliest known posters for these performers and they are being offered for the first time at auction.
There's also fantastic collection of vintage window card concert posters printed by Hatch Show Print of Nashville who are still around today. They produced many posters for the Grand Ole Opry shows and we are very lucky to have some fine examples including legendary artists such as The Carter Sisters and Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys.
GM: Do you think there’s a sleeper?
Giles Moon: Well, I do think there will be a lot of interest in the Johnny Cash posters. (One) from 1968 (shown above) and is particularly desirable as it's particularly large. Heritage has only ever offered a smaller version of this poster which realized $4,500 so it will be intriguing to see what the oversized one achieves, opening at just $750!