The February 2021 CGC Sale (Auction #130)
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/18/2021
Every collectible marketplace has a "Holy Grail" item. This is an item that is ALWAYS the star of any auction in which it appears, and the object of every collector's attention.  In baseball cards, it's the Mickey Mantle Rookie Card. In comics, it's the Batman and Superman Number 1's. In rare stamps, it's the famous Inverted Jenny. In coins, it's the Ultra High Relief $20.00 Saint Gaudens gold piece. And in concert posters, it's the Grateful Dead FD-26 "Skull and Roses"! Importantly, all of the other Holy Grails noted above are worth Five Hundred Thousand to Two Million Dollars each!

In each and every case, a Holy Grail Collector's Item is created when a perfect storm of multiple positive attributes are combined into a single historic issue that becomes the object of desire for every participant in a collectibles market. 

Let's examine what makes the Grateful Dead "Skull and Roses" the king of all collectible concert posters:

1) Iconic art. This world famous piece of art was designed by the legendary 1960’s concert poster artists, Stanley Mouse and the late, great Alton Kelley. The story of Mouse and Kelley searching the stacks at the San Francisco library for an appropriate illustration for the poster is well documented. The duo discovered this illustration by 19th century artist, Edward Joseph Sullivan, for an edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

2) Documented Rarity. It is estimated that just 2500 Original First Printings were produced! Probably 5-15% of these have survived the past 54 years in ANY condition.

3) Legendary Band. In addition to iconic art and documented rarity, this poster was created for the Grateful Dead, one of the most beloved bands of all time. For many historians, music fans, and collectors, "The Dead" are a major cultural touchstone of the 1960's and all this era represents.

4) Historical Importance. This poster defines the term “historically important”. The “Skull and Roses” from this very poster would be appropriated by the Dead for the rest of their careers and go on to be a world famous, internationally recognized logo for the band.

5) Documented History of Record Prices. When a confluence of multiple positive attributes combine to give an item "Holy Grail" status, a history of steadily increasing values invariably follows. This is a result of simple supply and demand. ....a large group of collectors chasing a tiny available supply. When you add in the fact that the vintage concert poster market is still in its infancy, and exploding in popularity, you have a highly combustible situation. Collectors that have been following the vintage concert poster marketplace have seen this play out in real time generally, and with the "Skull and Roses", specifically.

The "Skull and Roses", given its "Holy Grail" status, for the past 50+ years has ALWAYS been one of the most valuable vintage concert posters ever created. A couple years ago we auctioned off a CGC graded 9.8 specimen for a then record $56,400. This record was later obliterated when another specimen graded 9.8 by CGC commanded $118,000!

Because of this proven track record, most knowledgeable collectors believe that if and when a vintage concert poster trades for $1,000,000, it will be a "Skull and Roses" that is the first issue to claim this honor.

Of course, with the value of Mint Condition specimens now in the stratosphere, the great majority of collectors are turning their attention to the few specimens that are 100% Original and free of restoration that still exhibit superlative eye appeal, and that can STILL be acquired for pennies on the dollar compared to what other "Holy Grail" collectible items trade for in other marketplaces.

For example, we auctioned off a specimen of the "Skull and Roses" last year that was graded by CGC as 5.0, for $20,400.

In conclusion, if we were to forced to choose just ONE vintage concert poster to have in our collection, the Legendary Grateful Dead FD-26 "Skull and Roses" would be the poster we would choose.

This issue always has been ...and always will be...the Holy Grail of this hobby. As such, the specimen offered here is sure to bring the new owner much enjoyment now, and the appreciation for this issue is sure to grow more, with each passing year!

Estimate: $15,000 - $30,000

Poster – Grateful Dead, Avalon Ballroom
Catalog #FD-26
Grade – CGC 7.0
Bands/Bill - Grateful Dead, Oxford Circle
Venue - Avalon Ballroom
City - San Francisco, California   
Date - 9/16-17/1966
Dimensions - 14 3/16” x 19 15/16”
Printing -  OP-1, Original Pre-Concert First Printing
Artist - Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley
Series/Promoter - Family Dog
Paper - Vellum
Condition Details - This is a great example of a 50+ year old poster, with strong inks and perfect registration. Tape pulls, pin holes and a few minor flaws. 100% Original with no restoration. View the detailed high res photo of this lot. Click on the thumbnail photo, to see an enlarged photo. Click a second time on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the enlarged photo. A super high res image with every millimeter will now be clearly displayed. For a personalized eyewitness examination call 410-464-6180, 11:00 am to 6:00pm eastern.

*****This poster is available for inspection at our gallery, by appointment. *****

*A 20% Buyers Premium will be added to the final hammer price of this lot.*
1966-FD-26-OP-1-Grateful Dead-Avalon Ballroom Original Poster-THE ICONIC SKULL & ROSES! CGC Graded 7.01966-FD-26-OP-1-Grateful Dead-Avalon Ballroom Original Poster-THE ICONIC SKULL & ROSES! CGC Graded 7.0
1966-FD-26-OP-1-Grateful Dead-Avalon Ballroom Original Poster-THE ICONIC SKULL & ROSES! CGC Graded 7.0
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium.: $17,400
Number Bids: 25
Auction closed on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
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