By Todd Whitesel
Two things are certain: Concert posters and The Beatles’ Yesterday And Today aka Butcher Cover are hot, hot, hot! Collectors can’t get enough of these items, and if the results for ItsOnlyRockNRoll.com’s latest auction, held June 28, 2005, are any indication, the market and value for these items may continue to rise.
The auction featured Beatles memorablia aplenty, including an extremely rare Yesterday And Today (Capitol T-2553) LP — a still-sealed first-state mono Butcher Cover from the collection of ex- Capitol Records president Alan Livingston. It also included a signed Livingston letter and photocopy of the original Capitol Records recall letter to reviewers. As Bruce Spizer wrote in his book, The Beatles Story On Capitol Records Part Two, “These sealed albums are known among collectors as ‘Livingston Butchers’ and are considered pedigree copies.”
A minimum bid of $10,000 was set for the album, however, the bidding skyrocketed past the $40,000 mark, with a winning bid of $44,695.90!
But that was chump change compared to the $72,970.30 laid down for The Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium concert poster. This item has to be the most coveted piece of music memorabilia on the planet, as two other “Sheas” have sold for IORR for $69,736 and $132,736.52(!) each. This poster was described as “Beautifully restored. Four horizontal creases and one vertical crease across Beatles images have been smoothed/flattened, areas of discoloration have been cleaned and color matched. A small section of the lower border has been replaced. The bottom edge of the poster is almost unnoticeably trimmed.”
Other Beatles items in demand included a pay receipt from June 1961 signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best, and Stuart Sutcliffe (winning bid $36,855); a poster signed in 1964 by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Ringo Starr sold for $16,546.49; a Please, Please Me LP (U.K. Parlophone) signed by the Fab Four went for $15,679.11; a 1963 “New Brighton Tower” concert poster closed at $17,112.58; one of only four known 1966 Beatles Cleveland cardboard concert posters sold for $33,093.06. A previous Cleveland poster (which showed up at the 2004 National Record Show at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame later sold for $38,309.35 for IORR); and a Beatles record player with the very rare original box netted $11,071.38!
The demand for posters didn’t end with the Liverpudlians: The original artwork created by Lee Conklin and Bill Graham for a 1968 Fillmore West Cream concert, sold for $7,371; a 1966 “Acid Test Graduation” poster featuring Captain Marvel brought $11,302.20; one of the first printings of the Grateful Dead’s Hawaiian Aoxomoxoa poster (designed by artist Rick Griffin), for a July 26-27, 1969, show sold for $14,964.65. The poster’s collectiblity is enhanced because the concert was canceled before the posters were picked up from the printer.
According to IORR, “When the printer wasn’t paid he destroyed all the posters so that the only ones to survive are the ones that Griffin snatched that first day they were printed”; a Rolling Stones Steel Pier 1966 concert poster for their Marine Ballroom show in Atlantic City went for $8,959.49; a poster for The Who’s Village Theater (later renamed the Fillmore East) concert in 1967 created by Charles Brandon sold for $18,552.82 — a giant leap from the minimum opening bid of $600; and a “Festival Internationale 1949 De Jazz” poster with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sidney Bechet, among others on the bill sold for $12,769.71.
Other items of note included Neil Young’s first record (recorded with The Squires) from 1963: “The Sultan”/“Aurora” on V Records (V-109). Only eight-10 copies are known to exist. This one, in VG+ condition, sold for $2,477.47. Bruce Springsteen’s handwritten lyrics for “Night Song,” (1975) ended with a bid of $6,218.18; an equipment case used by Jim Morrison and The Doors dated from the 1960s, $6,142.50; and a handwritten sheet by Bob Dylan from 1961 containing lyrics for “Don’t,” “Mary Of The Wild Moor,” “Wreck On The Highway” and “Crying Holy To The Frost,” 9,023.15.
Lastly, members of the Kiss Army, hoping to dress to kill, had the opportunity to bid on two complete stage outfits worn by Peter Criss (during the Psycho Circus tour) and Ace Frehley (Love Gun tour). The outfits sold for $11,088.76 and $17,121.57 respectively.