The seven posters were destined to be thrown out during an attic clearance but thankfully for musical posterity the vendor decided he liked the look of them and decided to keep them.
It was also a canny decision in financial terms – on December 13 at Surrey saleroom Ewbank’s (27% buyer’s premium inc VAT) they all sold for sums well over the modest estimates.
Ewbank’s entertainment and memorabilia specialist Alastair McCrea said that the top-seller in this selection, a concert poster for the Marquee Club in London dated ‘22 & 29 December’ from the mid-Sixties, marked IBIS Designs, 20in x 2ft 6in (51 x 76cm), was the only one he had ever seen.
Estimated at £500-800, it instead sold for a hammer price of £16,000. Another for a concert marked ‘All Saints Hall, Powis Gardens, West 11, Every Tuesday 5-S’, measuring 15 x 20in (38 x 51cm), had been estimated at £400-600 but sold for £7000.
One text-heavy version advertised ‘All Night Rave to Launch new underground newspaper 'International Times’, featuring ‘the soft machine, the pink floyd, steel bands, The Round House, Sat 15th Oct’. This 20in x 2ft 6in (51 x 76cm) poster made £4000 against an estimate of £300-500.
“The Sixties and Seventies are just so strong at the moment especially when you get a band or the start of an artist career, getting in as they were becoming famous,” said McCrea.
All posters except two secured together went to different buyers, mainly online but with one bidder in the room.
Pink Floyd were formed in London in 1965 so these posters are just after their first days and also probably before the troubled Syd Barrett left in 1968. Reflecting such a common progression for British bands of the Sixties, the earliest blues and psychedelia gave way to a new sound and by 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon established the band as a huge force with the classic line-up of Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and David Gilmour (who joined in 1967).
Not only are such posters significant in a band’s progression, but due to their nature they are very rare.
Pink Floyd were also playing cellars, basements, church halls and so on when just a handful of flimsy student-style screenprinted designs would appear – most to be thrown away afterwards. They are also intrinsically fragile. Although these Ewbank’s posters were in relatively good condition for their age and quality, they feature inevitable tears and creases.
As for the top-seller, the Marquee Club venue adds appeal. In 1964 the club had moved to 90 Wardour Street in Soho – the start of a glorious period of helping to set many famous bands on their road to stardom (and inflatable pigs and walls in Pink Floyd’s case).
Early music posters
Other early music posters highlighted by ATG include a rare design from a 1965 tour by The Rolling Stones which was snapped up by a collector after a bidding battle at Bushey Auctions in Hertfordshire in September 2017. It sold for £13,000 hammer.
A gig poster advertising as the headline act ‘Britain’s Fabulous Disc Stars!’ sold for £28,000 at the Roger Jones May 2017 auction. That price was explained by those ‘stars’ being The Beatles, with the August 12, 1963, concert at the Odeon in Llandudno coming just as the Fab Four were being launched on the road to superstardom.