1966-CHET HELMS-Original Art for FD-2 King Kong-One of a Kind ORIGINAL ART for Historic Wes Wilson Concert Poster! Not Graded

closed on Friday, March 19, 2021

Final Auction Price
*Final prices include buyers premium
Starting bid: $1.00

Collecting the Original Artwork for psychedelic concert posters is generally limited to a small exclusive group of top collectors. Seldom are the rarest and most desirable items made available to the public. That is why Psychedelic Art Exchange is beyond excited to offer THE ORIGINAL ART for the poster that is considered the set breaker of the Family Dog series. 


The FD-2 poster also called King Kong was created by The Family Dog’s manager Chet Helms. This original paste-up is the final version that Chet sent to the printer. Wes Wilson’s Family Dog logo and the lettering reading “King Kong Memorial Dance” was added just before it went to the press. Those elements have long been separated from this art as is common with many early posters.


The story behind the FD-2 King Kong Memorial Dance is noteworthy as well. In addition to his role as a promoter for the Family Dog Chet Helms also acted as art director. Wes Wilson who was also working for Bill Graham at the time and had considerably more artistic latitude submitted a handbill design to Chet for the 2nd family dog concert. It was entitled “A salute to Hongo Ishi”. The handbill was printed in a very small quantity and was never distributed. It is perhaps the scarcest of all Family Dog items and only one or two are known to exist. Regardless Chet rejected the “Hongo Ishi” art and instead created this simple paste-up that was culled from a Life Magazine page. The simple stick-on lettering was then added by Chet. The art was then given to Wes Wilson who added what was to be the first-ever example of the fully stylized Family Dog logo and the lettering “King Kong Memorial Dance”. As mentioned previously those elements have not survived the years.


The provenance of this piece is rock solid and backed by The Psychedelic Art Exchange Lifetime guarantee of authenticity. This artwork was purchased directly from Chet Helms’s short-lived San Francisco Art Gallery Atelier Dore by psychedelic art historian Jacaeber Kastor. Wolfgang’s Vault then acquired Kastor’s Psychedelic Solution in 2004. The piece was sold and has been in the hands of private collectors ever since.


As for the FD-2 poster itself it is the toughest Family Dog poster to come by. There were only 500 posters produced and only a handful of copies have survived the past 55 years. The poster currently starts trading at $20 000 for rough damaged copies. Needless to say this original art is in another universe as far as value goes.  Even giving an estimate here is pure guesswork. With the recent surge in value for concert posters the sky is the limit for this piece of art.


Artwork – Chet Helms Original Art for FD-2

Bands/Bill – The Great Society Grass Roots Big Brother & The Holding Company Quicksilver Messenger Service

Venue – Fillmore Auditorium

City – San Francisco California

Date – 2/26/1966

Dimensions – 7 3/8" x 10 3/4"
Printing – Original Artwork
Artist – Chet Helms
Condition Details – This original art is not graded. 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 piece is available for inspection at our gallery by appointment. *****


*A 20% Buyers Premium will be added to the final hammer price of this lot.*