In the 1960s, San Francisco offered plenty of free love, free drugs and free rock posters. Today, sex is risky, drugs uncool, but the posters are collectors' items.
Last year, for example, Debi Jacobson, who runs L'Imagerie Rock Graphics in Sherman Oaks, sold the proof sheet of art from a canceled 1969 Grateful Dead show for $4,000. Now, she estimates, it would bring at least $10,000. Jacobson's original posters cost between $200 and $500.
The posters are treasured as much for the concerts they advertise as for their offbeat designs and period psychedelia. Coveted most are Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Doors. The reason? Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison are dead, and the Dead will, presumably, never die. "I was too young for the '60s," says Warren Ross, 28, who has been collecting rock posters since 1983, "but I still love the music. "
Kevin North Marder, on the other hand, is old enough to remember Woodstock. In 1969, he bought a Hendrix poster for a buck; 15 years later, he paid $200 for "The Flying Eyeball"--Hendrix, John Mayall and Albert King at the Fillmore in February, 1968--which now sells for about $1,250. "People can start collecting for a few hundred dollars," he says, "instead of several thousand for a Warhol print."