Condition

How important is it? [ Back to Gallery ]
 
 
Lately there has been a big emphasis being put on the condition of psychedelics posters. So much so, many collectors are turning up their noses to some really great posters with small flaws, willing to wait or pay whatever it takes to obtain a perfect copy. Is this the right approach to psychedelic or boxing style poster collecting?

Well, as with many things there is no clear black and white answer in my opinion, although you will find some take a different view; so let's explore my own experience.

When I first seriously started a poster collection I was focused on completing a set of the BG Fillmore series; prior to starting I had no idea there was a whole series of posters for the Fillmore until the Art of Rock came out. Once I saw all those posters in sequence I immediately knew I had to acquire every last one to of them. By chance, I ran into a pristine collection of NM copies of all the early ones, up through about number 30 and since I now had the first 30 or so, I decided they should all be perfect posters, which in this case was most likely the right decision, without realizing it. Why? Because at the time, in both the BG and in the FD series, one had the opportunity to actually acquire NM copies of most all of the poster; they seem to eventually come up - it was just a matter of time and money.

Later when I became more educated on posters, I found that in many cases only a few copies existed of some of the very best of psychedelic and boxing style posters. Since I was now expanding my collection outside of the BG and FD series, I had to make a decision - did I want to own some of these extremely rare posters, such as the Acid Tests, early Elvis or Buddy Holly, etc. If so, waiting for a perfect copy was totally senseless - they just didn't exist in most cases. As a result, it came down to acquiring what I could find or doing without the poster. For me, I was unwilling to do without the poster, so I started to acquire non-NM copies of posters. To me, that was the best decision I ever made from a collectors standpoint.

If I would have stayed with the NM mentality, I would own about 50% or less of the collection I own today. So it comes down to this - what is your goal? Is it to own only perfect copies of posters? If so, you will likely do very well in the long run on the value of the posters you collect, but you will limit yourself in acquiring some of the very best and most important vintage posters ever produced. If your goal is to build a great collection of the posters you love, then don't limit yourself to only perfect posters, enjoy some flawed ones.

As an example, take the poster pictured above, which I consider one of the most beautiful psychedlic posters ever produced. Only two of these posters surfaced and both came with the minor crease as shown. If I would have rejected this poster because it was not 100% flawless, it would have been one of the biggest mistakes in my poster collectiing career and I would have regretted it every day, knowing I would never see it again - now something like that can make your life miserable.

What you will find, if you are like me, is you will fall in love with these posters because many have the charm of really "being there" which only enhances their likeablity and many of these posters actually look better with their real age and flaws showing - after all these things are now becoming official antiques and there is nothing wrong with looking your age - just like some of us!

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