When we were young, many of us had posters hanging on our walls. Posters connected us with the things that we enjoyed, whether they were television shows, models, cars, or musical groups. These posters connected us to something outside of our little world, our little universe and whenever friends would come over, these posters would be a focal point, the centerpiece to the room.
Concert posters were often not a part of the collection for these younger years, since most concert posters were designed and used to promote upcoming shows from the artists at the center of these posters. Yet during the nineteen-nineties, a retro movement saw reproductions of many of the classic concerts from the sixties and seventies become incredibly popular, inspiring generations of music fans to begin to seek out and collect concert posters for themselves.
Whether they are posters for Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, or the Sex Pistols, for example, or for lesser known yet relatively successful artists, concert posters can be worth great value, from monetary to personal. Just seeing a concert poster from a show that you attended can bring back a number of memories and the warmth that you felt holding the ticket in your hand, waiting on line to get into the venue, talking with friends or strangers, anticipating the opening introduction and then guitar riff that echoes throughout the venue.
Collecting concert posters these days will fall into two categories: a financial investment or an austerity investment. Which one you choose to be more important than the other will determine which kind of concert poster to focus on. For example, if you are interested in monetary gain for your investment in concert posters, then it will require more attention to detail and a bit more focus on originality, since reproductions can look much like the originals, though far less valuable.
If you are interested in concert posters to hang in your room, your office, or home as decorative and reminiscent tokens, then those reproductions may offer the same sense of wonder and memory at a far cheaper price. On top of that, the reproductions will look as though they came right off the press, which they did. This is often appealing to those individuals who plan to hang them as art on their walls.
Starting Out Collecting Concert Posters
Concert posters are considered the more difficult, and rare, types of posters that you will come across. This makes the appeal to collecting concert posters even more exciting for many collectors. The reason that concert posters are not nearly as common as other types of posters is that they are only produced for a brief period of time, usually for one printing run, to promote a concert on a specific date. Once the concert has come and gone, however, it was common that these posters were removed and far too often disposed of.
Many of the smaller venues and lesser known young artists –before their launch into super-stardom that has caused their concert posters to become so valuable- were placed outdoors, on billboards, street corners, along buildings and construction boards, and as a result, many of them didn’t survive the elements, such as rain, snow, sleet, and even wind.
So, concert posters, especially those that are worth intrinsic or monetary value, are much hard to come by. Becoming a collector of concert posters will pose a number of challenges, from the lack of abundance of the posters, to the reproductive qualities that one will find in a number of retro stores catering to these time periods, but when you find that concert poster that you have been looking for, the original, in good quality, all of your effort and hard work will be worth it.
Serious collectors of authentic concert posters, those performances by the biggest names in the business, for example, study this art form carefully and know precisely how much a particular concert poster should cost and for anyone who wants to become a serious collector of these posters should educate himself or herself as well, otherwise you could end up with a collection that, while it may look nice on the wall, it might not be worth any real value.
When talking about concert posters that are valuable, it generally represents those that were printed for concerts from long ago. Modern concerts still promote shows through posters, but collectors, venues, and even the artists or the artists’ management, collect the posters for future sale. This means that modern concerts will have many more posters available in the future and therefore the monetary value will be greatly diminished.
Then, of course, are the replicas. If you want to know how to spot a replica, look for the printing label, usually fine print at the bottom of the poster that indicates the date of the printing. Also, original concert posters that are valuable, will generally have indications of aging, from light fading the colors, to some creases in the corners, lines, or other blemishes that are a natural part of the poster being hung and exposed to the elements. Serious collectors can tell the difference between replicas and originals and this should be your first task if you plan to be a serious collector of concert posters.
The first thing that you will need to do is to research original posters. If you have a particular band that you want to acquire posters of, then find out what venues they played at, the dates, and whether posters were printed to promote their shows. Some early performances from these bands were hand-written and there were no concert posters printed for them. Replicas may actually have these concerts promoted, and if you do your homework, you will know that this wasn’t actually the case.
To become a serious concert poster collector, it’s helpful to know some of the history of posters in general. It is also important to at least have a working knowledge or understanding about the different kind of posters that have been produced throughout the years. While this information is strictly existential to concert poster collecting, the more you know about the history of posters in general, the more prepared you will be when you come across the small specialty shops or online advertisements promoting specific concert posters that you’re interested in. For example, when you come across a site selling a series or set of concert posters, you won’t be able to see the clear detail of the poster, except from the image that the individual offers.
If you research this business and some of the other products, such as other posters, that they offer for sale, and know something about them, you will be able to determine whether they are serious sellers are just individuals trying to make a quick buck off replicas.
Information is power in the information age and the more information that you have at your fingertips, the more power and bargaining ability you will have when it comes to finding, securing, and acquiring the concert posters that appeal to you. For a brief history on posters:
Researching Concert Posters
For your first venture into the world of concert posters, you should do a fair amount of research, as noted during previous sections. There have been a fair number of books that have been written through the years about concert posters and these are valuable starting points for your beginning venture into collecting concert posters.
It’s important to keep in mind that many of the concert posters that are mentioned in these books are some of the most valuable concert posters that you will come across. The feasibility of acquiring these posters is highly unlikely, unless you have an unlimited source of money to pull from, that is. However, knowing the value of some of these posters will help you when you come across the posters that you really want to have.
Also, when you begin your journey into the world of collecting concert posters, you will likely come across posters from time to time that are either undervalued or the owner simply doesn’t know what they have on their hands. This will be the time that your research and reading pay off.
You can also find an abundance of websites that are devoted to the art of collecting concert posters. Some of these sites will be loaded with valuable information about certain concert posters, where you can find them, the perceived or estimated value of them, and where you may be able to acquire them.
Many blogs have people writing about concert poster collecting. If you find a blog that is update regularly and you find the information there helpful, then it’s a great idea to leave a comment or two and check back regularly. When you open up a line of communication with somebody who has useful knowledge and information, then you will likely have a source to lean on, ask questions, and gather more information. And remember, information is power in this day and age.
Finding Concert Posters
Throughout most metropolitan areas, there are a number of small shops that cater to the collection of memorabilia and past musical concerts, such as ticket stubs, photos, and concert posters. These are some of the best first stops for a beginning collector. However, it’s important to note that you will not likely find great deals at these stores, since the owners and operators will know quite well the value of the concert posters that they have on hand.
For those individuals who don’t live near major cities, it might be more difficult to find stores that cater to these unique items. If that is the case, then get online and begin to track down some sites that have the best and most accurate information about concert posters. At this point, your research efforts will pay off as you will know fairly quickly whether the website you have found is worth your time or whether you should move on to another site.
Ebay and other major selling websites will have a number of concert posters available for sale, but the bidding process in these ventures can be tricky. Since you can’t actually physically see the item that is for sale, you are relying on the seller’s word about its authenticity and condition. The more you know about concert posters, and the more you know about the artist for whom the poster was made, the better prepared you will be to bid, or to pass, on these items.
Securing the Concert Poster and Preserving It
When you find the concert poster that you’ve been looking for, then you want to make sure that you preserve and care for it. The more direct light that it is exposed to, the more it will fade over time, and the more value it will lose. When you purchase a concert poster, either store it in a protective sleeve, clearly marked, or frame it.
If you plan to display the concert poster, keep it away from direct sunlight or harsh, 60-watt or stronger bulbs. This will ensure that it last for many years and holds –or increases- its value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lot of money to start collecting concert posters?
It depends on the type of concert poster that you want to acquire. If you’re collecting original posters from the biggest names in the music business, especially posters from their early days, long before the world knew their name, then you will likely need a large budget. If your aim is collect concert posters from lesser known artists, then you won’t need a lot of money. Replicas are also a target of collectors who don’t have a large budget to spend on them, but they are not going to increase in value, either.
How do I find out if a band printed concert posters before they signed with their label?
There are fan pages on the web for just about every major performing artist. Many of these pages are operated by die-hard fans who will be able to tell you just about anything about the artist. Ask questions. If they don’t know, you will have likely found the person who will be able to find out, and who will want to find out.
Collecting concert posters can be for profit or for posterity. When you want to collect concert posters, there is one important question that you must first ask yourself: do you want to find concert posters that are valuable or concert posters from artists that you enjoyed years ago?
The answer will help you determine the level of research that you should do into concert posters in general, and how much money you should expect to pay. The bigger the name of the artist, the more expensive the original concert posters will be.
Concert posters can bring us back to our youth, to the glory days when planning to do to that concert was more than an afternoon event. Concert poster collecting brings thousands of people around the world a great amount of joy and an abundance of memories. When you begin to collect concert posters, you will join them in this exciting and fun hobby of collecting concert posters.