1966-FD-26-OP-1-Avalon Ballroom-Grateful Dead Concert Poster-FINEST CGC EXAMPLE EVER AUCTIONED! CGC Graded 9.8

closed on Friday, May 17, 2019

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

Over the past 11 years we have sold thousands of vintage concert posters totaling many millions of dollars. The lot offered here may be the most sought after and important of them all!


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 CGC graded example we have ever auctioned or seen auctioned by anyone in the world. 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 (9.8) to ever appear at public auction.  


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  we note 3 previous auctions of this legendary masterpiece:


1) 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."


2) A 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."


3) We auctioned off a CGC graded 9.4 example for $50 600 on August 9 2018. The specimen offered here and now is graded a full 2 levels higher. In every other collectibles market it is COMMONPLACE for each level up to trade at a 50-100% premium from the level below. It will be interesting to see what premium the marketplace attaches to this spectacular Museum Quality 9.8 specimen today.


In addition to the commonplace premiums of 50-100% that are attached to each escalating grade experienced collectors know that in every collectibles marketplace "the best of the best" often brings multiples of 10-20x or more the second best auctioned example. The reason for this is simple. There are many collectors whom only the best will do. They have ZERO interest in owning "Second Best" and are willing to pay whatever it takes for the privilege of owning "The Best".


In regards to auction opportunity  this is one that has been independently verified by the leading third party expert 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. 


Examples: An Action Comics #1 CGC graded 8.5 realized $2 050 000 in July 2018.


A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card Graded 8.5 realized $1 135 250 on 11/1716.


A Brasher Doubloon CGC graded MS63 realized $4 582 500 in 2014.


These are just a few of many certified collectibles that routinely trade for over $1 000 000.


The facts clearly show that you can still acquire the "best of the best" concert posters for literally pennies on the dollar compared to other World Class Rarities. 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: $50 000-$100 000


Poster – Grateful Dead Avalon Ballroom

Catalog #FD-26

Grade – Finest Known CGC 9.8

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 - Superb Museum Quality that is unimprovable in every way. 100% Original with no restoration of any kind. The exact same condition as the day it was created over 50 years ago. This poster surfaced in the past few weeks out of Texas. It comes from a collector that was an integral part of the early 1960's "psychedelic scene". The poster was stored in the same drawer untouched by human hands and shielded from exposure to light until now. Of course there are no nicks cuts tears or pinholes! 


*****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.*