Collecting Vintage Rock n Roll Music Posters
Every inch of the room was covered in posters
Looking for posters and memorabilia for your favorite rock band is easy, with dozens of online resources for poster auctions and conventions. Look here to find the best music memorabilia for the Rock 'n Roll bands and artists that you follow. This is a story about how I started collecting posters with a friend in junior high school.
The chairs in the room were made out of old bucket seats from a sports car, every table was covered with memorabilia, one wall had a huge stack of vinyl, but the most impressive thing was the poster collection.
A giant Beatlemania poster from the Broadway show dominated the ceiling. There was a huge collection of life-size, black and white movie posters with Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando on his motorcycle, and a special collection of anything to do with Jim Morrison and the Doors. There were so many posters that you couldn't see the paint on the walls or the ceiling. We've been friends ever since.
Rock and roll music was the thing that started our passion for collecting posters, but not without some major mistakes along the way. Learn about the second golden age of posters in the in the 1960s and 70s, and the poster artists that defined these influential graphic design styles. Learn more about rock posters and watch in horror as we first destroy most of our collection before discovering how to display and care for posters so they'll last for a lifetime.
Fillmore West - Concert posters and postcards
For concerts at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, Bill Graham started the tradition of producing 4 x 6" postcards at the same time as the full-sized psychedelic posters, which are typically 14 x 22", in portrait format. Concert brochures and handbills are also valuable collectors items.
Find your favorite artists
Collecting Rock posters
We had a few places to get posters, and most of them were record stores in the towns nearby. These places were like candy, filled with all the coolest stuff that you'd never seen in your life before. It was so easy to spend hours in there flipping through the records, listening to the music non-stop and talking about bands with the owner. There was always a separate room for blacklight posters - if you walked in there with white clothes the whole room would glow. And now, vintage black light posters are really expensive.
We would return from the store with our LP records and 45s and posters and flyers and buttons and magazines and anything we could afford to buy from our favorite artists. And that's how to start collecting posters - pick your topic or celebrity, one that will keep you interested for a while, and find every way to get original vintage posters at a good price.
Large "C" size posters are very a common size for posters from the 70s and 80s.
Inexpensive poster frames - Large format plastic toploaders
You can store and protect posters with plastic "toploaders", the same kind used to keep baseball cards and trading cards in great condition. We put two posters back-to-back into one big toploader which makes it easy to choose which image to display by simply flipping the toploader to one side or the other. Some collectors drill holes in the top corners of the plastic so they can hang several posters on metal pegs mounted on the wall. This makes it even easier to rotate your stock of posters on display in your home or business.
These poster frames come in many sizes to fit anything from artist trading cards all the way up to large one-sheet poster sizes. Find product reviews and a filtered selection of collecting supplies for posters, photographs, matchbook covers, baseball cards and all kinds of paper memorabilia for any collector, at dotpattern: the digital museum of collecting.
With a little care and preservation your posters can last for a lifetime. Just make sure that your parents or spouse do not throw away your collection because this memorabilia will be valuable some day.
Gig Posters, Handbills and Postcards
Do you have a poster collection?
Add your vote and leave your comments below. How many LP records in your collection? Rock on!
Do you collect Rock 'n Roll posters?
Rock and Roll music posters - Classic bands from the 60s and 70s to the present
The internet makes buying posters very easy and eBay is one of the first choices for buying "entertainment memorabilia" because of their enormous selection and because of the safeguards they use to protect both buyers and sellers.
eBay is also a valuable resource for the current price of antiques and collectibles, when you click on the option to Show only / Completed listings when you do a search (you must be logged into your account). Now, anyone with a smart phone has the ability to check the price of an item while shopping in a flea market, or in the field "picking" through antique stores and looking for bargains.
Other good places to buy posters will be reviewed in the following sections of this article, with more stories about the experience of two kids collecting rock and roll posters and memorabilia.
My first record convention
Meet others like you
My best friend and I went to our first big record convention called "Rockages" when we were in High School. Compact Disks were not yet invented, or the internet, and vinyl records were a the height of their popularity. We took a long train ride and a bus to the convention, and then we spent the next eight hours in the pure bliss of excitement with not nearly enough time to see everything.
It was here that we first met artist Cal Schenkel who created the early album covers for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. We met singer Patty Smith's mother who handed out pin-back buttons to promote her daughter's album Wave (pictured).
We learned that it's important to bring good shoes because it's hard work standing all day and concentrating on every interesting thing at the convention. I walked out of there with a huge Beatles poster and another one from the band Jethro Tull, as well as stickers and a handful of records. My best friend got some LPs and 45 records with cool artwork on the sleeves and a limited edition poster for The Grand Wazoo album by Frank Zappa directly from the artist.
collection of the author
EMEK poster artist book - One of the most creative and prolific poster artists
5 stars from every reviewer.
Click on the image below to watch a 6 minute video.
More places to find posters
Music and Record Conventions
One of the most enjoyable parts of collecting posters is meeting new people who share your taste in music and art. Record conventions are becoming more popular as the beautiful album cover art on 12" Long Play (LP) records and the rich dynamic range of old-school vinyl recordings comes back into fashion. You can talk with the dealers at the tables and learn tons of information from interesting people about the subjects that they love to talk about.
Lectures and workshops at these conventions can be another resource for information about special topics and niche markets, often featuring celebrity performers, authors and artists. You might have the chance to meet the author at a book signing and mingle with the people who gravitate to specific topics.
These conventions are also an ideal place to buy original concert posters, album promotional posters, and every kind of music memorabilia that you can imagine.
Outside resources - Rock Poster Artist links and biographies
- GigPosters.com - Designers
Over 380 poster designers featured on the mother of all rock concert poster websites
- Album cover and concert poster artists | Wikipedia
69 artists who created well-known rock 'n' roll album cover art and concert posters.
- Collectors Weekly Daily
Psychedelic Poster Pioneer Wes Wilson on The Beatles, Doors, and His Breach With Bill Graham
More articles in the Poster Series
Collecting original posters
When you find a poster that you want to buy, first understand the grading system that the seller uses to describe the condition of the poster. If the paper is in less that excellent condition, then simple poster conservation techniques can be used to increase the value of the artwork, or full poster restoration to repair excessive damage to a rare poster or work of art on paper.
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