1966-FD-26-OP-1-Avalon Ballroom-Grateful Dead Concert Poster-LEGENDARY ERIC KING FINEST KNOWN EXAMPLE! CGC Graded 9.4

closed on Friday, August 10, 2018

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

Over the past 10 years we have sold thousands of lots totalling many millions of dollars. The lot offered here may be the most sought after and important of them all!


This is the finest CGC graded example of this legendary poster to ever appear at public auction and it is also the finest quality example that world famous concert poster expert researcher and authority Eric King  has seen since his involvement in the marketplace began 52 years ago in 1966! 


On the back of the poster Eric King has inscribed the following:

" To Whom It May Concern This is to state that my name is Eric King that I'm the author of The Collector's Guide to Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters and Handbills 1966-1973   and that I'm a widely recognized expert on this material. On this day 6/19/18 I examined this poster carefully and determined that it is Original Printing one printed before the event with the intention of distribution to promote the concert FD-26-OP1 according to the numbering system in my Guide. I also note that in terms of condition this is the best copy I ever have seen."


In collectibles like life everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We can tell you that the paper on this poster is as crisp as the day it was created. We can also report that the colors are bright fresh and fully saturated. We could also point out that the registration is superb. We can explain that when you view this poster in person it displays tremendous "blast" and eye appeal. We could tell you that this is unquestionably the finest quality example we have ever auctioned or seen auctioned. All of these things are in our opinion true but they are just another opinion.


When it comes to selling collectibles it's the opinions of unbiased third party experts that matter the most. In this case this is the finest quality CGC graded example to ever appear at public auction. We have examined this poster endlessly and cannot understand the 9.4 CGC grade. A slight hint of handling in the bottom lower corner is the only flaw we detect. All we can surmise is that CGC knows this poster will command a special price and want to insure that the new owner receives more than they bargain for. Our experience confirms this is common practice when it comes to third party grading of World Class Museum pieces in all different markets. In other words the more valuable an item is the stricter the graders grade.


But what is even more impressive than the ultra conservative CGC grade is that Eric King a universally recognized and world famous expert on concert posters has noted this is the finest quality example he has EVER seen. And make no mistake about it Mr. King has seen a large majority of the surviving FD-26's over the decades including many other "Mint" examples He has been in this market from the beginning when the supply was huge and the number of collectors were few. He has helped many if not most of the world's most advanced collectors with their collections over the years. In summation Mr. King has SEEN IT ALL! 


It's also important to note that while Mr. King inscribed his opinion on the back of this poster recently he has been aware of this poster and held this opinion of it FOR YEARS. In fact it was his opinion of the uniqueness of this specimen that grabbed our attention years ago. We have spent the ensuing years literally stalking this specimen through multiple owners until we finally had the opportunity to present it in one of our sales. Once the poster was consigned we contacted Mr. King who recalled the poster instantly and arrangements were made for him to re-examine the poster and verify that his opinion of it's uniqueness remained unchanged. 


Since inception of PAE we have advised ALL serious collectors to acquire Mr. King's Guide. Contact us for ordering details.


In regards to desirability the FD 26 is without question one of the “Holy Grails” in the entire Psychedelic Concert Poster genre. This issue is on everybody’s top 3 lists of “most desirable” posters. If we had to own just ONE POSTER for our own personal collection this would be it. 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.


In regards to value  the two highest value auction appearances we are aware of in recent memory are as follows:

A specimen THAT WAS CLEANED AND NOT INDEPENDENTLY AUTHENTICATED OR GRADED BY CGC realized $38 501 on 12/4/16. The poster was cataloged as "Precious few original first printings exist in near mint condition let alone the near flawless condition of this example. It has no holes tears stains bends or other flaws. The colors are bright and saturated as can be. A modest amount of toning was professionally cleaned and the resulting product is phenomenal. Indeed in 12 years worth of auctions we have seen more than 13 original first printings of this poster we have not seen one as nice as this."


The second example was PREVIOUSLY MOUNTED AND NOT INDEPENDENTLY AUTHENTICATED OR GRADED BY CGC realized $37 500 on 7/21/18. The poster was cataloged as follows:" Near Mint Minus condition. The poster was originally dry mounted and has been expertly removed from the mount. The only signs of this are traces of adhesive residue to the reverse that in no way affect the overall appearance of this fantastic poster. There are traces of stray blue and red ink spotting in the white borders. There is minor wear to the corners and edges in particular a small crease across the lower right corner."


Experienced collectors know that in every other collectibles marketplace "the best of the best" brings multiples of 10-20x or more lesser known specimens. The reason for this is simple. There are many collectors whom only the best will do. They have ZERO interest in second best. They understand that you anyone can make more money but only ONE can own THIS POSTER with this CGC grade and this special Eric King certiifcation on the back! 


In regards to auction opportunity  this is one that has been independently verified by multiple third party experts as unparalleled to date. This lot offers everything in one mindblowing package history rarity quality and one of the most famous counter culture images of all time. 


We strongly suggest that anyone interested in bidding on this lot should read our blog dated 7/20/18 to fully appreciate the spectacular BARGAIN this poster represents at current market levels. The blog explains that in every other collectible market "the best of the best" commands AT LEAST $1 000 000 and often multiples of that.


You can still acquire the "best of the best" concert posters for under $100 000. No one can predict the future but IF the market for vintage concert posters continues to evolve in the same way as every other collectibles market has after being introduced to third party grading the new owner of this masterpiece will be overjoyed now and their pride of ownership will continue to grow with each passing year.


Estimate: $40 000 - $80 000


Poster – Grateful Dead Avalon Ballroom

Catalog #FD-26

Grade – Finest Known Copy seen by Eric King CGC 9.4

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 - 100% Original with no restoration. Museum Quality with no visible flaws of any kind. No nicks cuts tears or pinholes! The finest qaulity example that world famous concert poster expert Eric King has ever seen. The finest quality CGC graded example to ever appear at public auction. See more details in lot description. 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. *****