Want Psychedelic? Nine Iconic Pristine Posters from San Francisco’s Days of Love ‘n’ Haight

Heritage Auctions is auctioning a collection of mint condition rock ‘n’ roll posters from San Francisico’s acid, weed, music, and Summer-of-Love fueled golden age in the mid to late 1960s. We have nine of them here that we’re sure you’ll want to look at.

Jefferson Airplane 1966

Jefferson Airplane 1966. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Wowie-zowie! You never know what’s going to show up in your inbox when you publish a website like AlternativeApproaches.

Like, for instance, a few days ago the Dallas-based online auction house, Heritage Auctions, sent us these high resolution images of nine pristine-condition rock posters from the psychedelic days when San Francisco was cool and groovy and everything was far out. It’s enough to blow your mind, you dig?

According the press release that accompanied these images (just click on each image as you see it here to see it in its hi-res wonderment — ready for printing if you want a hi-res keepsake), the nine posters they shared with us are from a collection of 40 vintage posters from Baghdad by the Bay’s (remember Herb Caen?) “Summer of Love” era that were the work of famed printer Frank Westlake, whose Bindweed Press was San Francisco music venues’ go-to for advertising posters back in the days when gentle people there wore flowers in their hair.

If you’re old enough to have been a hippie (we actually called ourselves “freaks” — leaving it to straight folks and the press call us hippies) in the late 60s, some of these posters are iconic enough that you might remember them. Included are the posters for the 1967 Human Be-in at the Polo Grounds, the famed Family Dog shows at the legendary Avalon Ballroom, and Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin, of course), also at the Avalon.

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Bo Diddley, Little Walter 1966

Bo Diddley, Little Walter 1966 Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

The posters are the property of KC Murphy (or at least they will be until the auction happens), and the reason why they’re in such good shape after nearly 50 years is that they were practically pulled straight from the printing press that was printing them, then put away for safe keeping, as the press release explains:

To Murphy, of course, these posters are far more than keepsakes from far-flung, far-out yesterdays. Rather, they serve as warm reminders of childhood visits during the late 1960s to Frank Westlake’s famed printing press at 141 Noe Street, where her stepfather was self-printing a book he had written. During those regular sojourns into the city, Murphy and her siblings played hide-and-seek behind presses and colored on the backs of freshly minted posters for concerts not yet legendary.

Only later, when she was well into her teens, did Murphy discover the kids weren’t the only ones collecting posters from Bindweed: Her mom and stepdad, too, brought “Frank’s posters” home after each field trip, carefully and quietly stashing each one in a steamer trunk in their farmhouse attic. No one ever pulled out the posters or looked at them or talked about them or thought about them.

“They just sat up there,” Murphy says now, “while a bustling family life went on” in the house below.

Years later, Murphy went to work in the music industry — first at Capitol Records, where she worked on album releases by the likes of Paul McCartney, Poison, Queen, Heart and Tina Turner; then in artist management, working alongside Great White, Berlin and Appetite for Destruction-era Guns N’ Roses; then with David Crosby producing benefit concerts. She collected her own concert posters — from the 1980s, which will also head to auction in coming months — and her thoughts returned to her mother’s stash in the attic.

“Mom knew I had a keen interest in preserving the posters, and eventually I persuaded her to allow me to carefully move them from the attic trunk into acid-free archival storage,” Murphy says. “They were properly protected now. But still, they just sat in that big box.”

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Grateful Dead Skeletons and Roses Poster

Famous Grateful Dead Skeleton and Roses poster 1966. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

So how much might these original posters bring in when they’re auctioned?

Hold onto your joint, because when I tell you, you’re going to wish that you too had put a poster or two away for safekeeping if you hung out in the Haight back in the day.

According to Heritage Auctions, in 2019 a Skeleton & Roses poster exactly like the one in this collection, with a condition rating in the “high nines” on a 10-point scale (the one here has a rating of 9.6) went for $118,750, a record amount for a psychedelic concert poster, and another copy of the same poster once also fetched six figures.

“Naturally, the big question now is: Will Murphy’s 9.6-graded Dead poster set yet another new world record due to its amazing provenance and pedigree?” Pete Howard, Heritage Auctions’ director of concert posters said.

The entire collection is set to be sold at auction by Dallas-based collectibles auctioneers Heritage Auctions as part if its 2022 April 16 Music Memorabilia Signature Auction #7285. Full details on how the auction works is available on the website if you happen to have wads of cash to spend.

Family Dog Show with Janis Joplin and Bo Diddley

Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Human Be-In gathering. 1967. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Snake Lady poster – Jefferson Airplane 1966. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Grateful Dead & Steve Miller Band 1966

Grateful Dead and the Steve Miller Band 1966. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Pink Floyd 1968

Pink Floyd 1968. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

Blues Project and Quicksilver Messenger Service 1966

Blues Project and Quicksilver Messenger Service 1966. Click on image for full resolution (you might have to click twice for full size).

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