Classic Posters - Collecting Posters as Investments
Classic Posters - Collecting Posters asInvestments
By Michael ErlewineThere are posters of all kinds on the market,everything from travel posters, to posters forproducts, sports, celebrities -- promotionalposters of all kinds. Some of these arevaluable. But at the top of the value heap areposters for specific occasions -- event posters.These are commercial posters printed toannounce and advertise a specific event,posted in shops or taped and tacked totelephone poles. These are, for the most part,one time-events, with one-time printings, or atleast first printings. Music-concert posters areamong the more valuable.Of course, The appreciation in value of postersis not a new phenomenon. Posters by Henri deToulouse-Lautrec sell for $20,000 and up. Eventposters by-turn-of-the century artists likeMucha and Cheret sell for thousands of dollarsand continue to be in great demand.There is general agreement that concert-musicposters -- rock posters -- represent a genre ofposters that are very collectable and areappreciating in value. And although there aregreat numbers of concert-music posters printedbefore the sixties, it is '60s posters that firstcaptured the fancy of the public and markedthe start of widespread collecting in thisgeneration.Perhaps this is due in part from the fact thatthe '60s also mark a real change in publicconsciousness, a generation gap or break withthe status quo and the alternative culture andlifestyles that flowered in that time -- newforms of music and community.The epicenter of this vast change were the1960's dancehalls of San Francisco, and it wasthere that this new sense of communityblossomed, with its own music, and its ownbands. And the heralds for all of this new musicand community were the posters that were theprimary means to spread the word of this newcommunity of consciousness to those-who-had-ears-to-hear-it.These music concert posters announced notonly the events, but also spoke to the emergingalternative community in general. Here are(simultaneously) commercial posters, recordsof an historic event or culture shift, andmementos for the venues where they occurredand the bands that played there. It is nowonder, as the culture shifted into '70s mode,that people began to grab up some of thesepaper reminders of that great era -- the fabled"Summer of Love."I know. I had a bunch of these posters in mybasement, either gigs my band played orposters that I liked and had torn down andstashed away. I had no premonition that aposter tucked away in a box in my basement ofan image of a seagull by artist Gary Grimshaw,for an event at a new place that was justopening called the Grande Ballroom in Detroitwould one day be worth over $1000. Nevercrossed my mind. I just liked the posters.