1966 AOR-2.143 Grateful Dead California Hall Halloween Dance of Death Poster CGC 9.6

closed on Thursday, May 16, 2024

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

This near-pristine example of the Dance of Death poster is easily one of the most scarce and desirable Grateful Dead posters from 1966. The year is a sweet spot for Dead posters. The Grateful Dead were authentic, fearless, curious, and not at all self-conscious. No one in their wildest imagination envisioned that they would carry the ethos of the San Francisco freak scene well into the 21st century.


By October of 1966, the pioneer days of San Francisco Psychedelic exploration were coming to an end. LSD was criminalized in California on the 6th and The Dead would soon move out of the city as the Haight Ashbury community started to lose its original charm.


The Pranksters last hurrah, the Acid Test Graduation, was set for the same night: Halloween ‘66. Originally they planned to hold the event at Winterland with the Dead, but had to shift to a Warehouse on Harriet Street at the last minute. The Dead would opt to play a show at California Hall with Quicksilver in its place. This is the first Grateful Dead Halloween show! Halloween became a grateful Dead holiday of sorts over time with several historic shows played on this date - but this was the first. The dancing skeleton couple is one of the first advertisements that associated the Dead with skeletons. Wes Wilson's FD-12 from June of 66 is the first instance.


This poster seldom comes up for sale and the copies that have been auctioned commonly display condition issues. It’s a very large poster that shows damage easily due to its full-bleed black background.


This is the only known CGC graded example of this poster to be offered at auction. The reason is very few surviving copies would grade out well. It would be bold to suggest that this was the finest copy in existence, but we've found no evidence of a stronger example. We can say with certainty that it is the finest copy that we have handled in our experience and certainly is the highest-graded copy ever offered to the public.


--TITLE: AOR-2.143 Poster
--GRADE: 9.6
--PERFORMERS: Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Mimi Farina
--VENUE: California Hall
--CITY: San Francisco
--DATE: 10/31/66
--SIZE: 17 x 27
--PRINTING: OP-1; Original Pre-Concert First Printing Poster


A 20% Buyers Premium will be added to the final hammer price of this lot. 
High resolution HD photos available on request. 
For a personalized eyewitness examination call 410-464-6180, 10:00 am to 5:00pm EST.