The market for vintage concert posters has become the most exciting collectibles market in the world today due to a multitude of positive developments that have created a "perfect storm" for these historical works of art.
The Famous "Vanessa" concert poster. Grande Ballroom, James Cotton / MC-5 Nov. 10+11, 1967. Many collectors believe it to be the best of the best.
Despite everything that vintage concert posters have going for them, there is one substantial overriding factor that has turned this market into an overnight success. We're talking about the introduction of independent third-party grading by CGC.
No doubt that without CGC, we would not be witnessing this massive influx of new collectors into the market. These new collectors already have experience acquiring independently authenticated and graded rare coins, stamps, and baseball cards. The addition of CGC grading for vintage concert posters makes their transition into this space more comfortable and seamless.
This considerable increase in demand has led to a renewed appreciation and record prices for the finest quality and rarest pieces and a commensurate dwindling of the tiny available supply. Well over 90% of the hundreds of price records set in our vintage concert poster auctions in 2018 were authenticated and graded by CGC.
Despite the warm collector reception that CGC posters enjoy, there are four essential facts about today's marketplace that are not widely understood.
1) Not all concert posters are eligible for CGC grading.
This misconception is common in today's marketplace. Currently, CGC only authenticates and grades posters that are listed in The Art of Rock by Paul Grushkin, or in The Collector's Guide to Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters, Postcards, and Handbills by Eric King.
King's guide lists popular psychedelic concert poster series from The Family Dog, The Bill Graham Series, The Grande Ballroom, The Neon Rose, and The Vulcan Gas. The Art of Rock lists several hundred other concert posters from various venues throughout the United States.
There is still a large percentage of posters, by our estimates 35 - 45%, that is not currently listed in these two reference books. As a result of that, they're not eligible for CGC authentication and grading.
CGC will be expanding their grading universe in the future, which leads to another opportunity that requires more discussion at another time.
2) Every poster at Psychedelic Art Exchange is CGC graded before it's sold or auctioned!
Our mission at PAE is straightforward: we provide a safe and secure place to buy, sell, and learn about vintage concert posters.
Every collector knows that the condition of a collectible determines its value. Small differences in quality will lead to substantial differences in value. The only way to create a safe environment between buyers and sellers is to get every eligible poster CGC graded.
For buyers, this means they can bid with confidence, knowing that they are basing their purchasing decision on an unbiased third-party opinion. For sellers, it means benefitting from the enormous demand and record prices that the market commands for CGC graded material. It's a win-win situation for everyone concerned.
We adhere to this standard 100% because we don't want to put collectors in the position of wondering why a poster wasn't CGC graded as if it had something to hide.
Of course, PAE also buys and sells concert posters that are not currently eligible for CGC grading. For these concert posters, we grade and individually certify on a consistent scale of 1 - 100. Every one of these graded posters is backed up by the strongest guarantee, in writing, possible.
3) CGC Grading is FAR Stricter Than Most Collectors Realize.
PAE prides itself on offering the finest quality material available today. We have been high profile "condition freaks" from the very first day we opened our doors over ten years ago.
That being said, CGC has given new meaning to the term "strictly graded." We believe that CGC provides the absolute best value for your collecting dollar at every end of the condition spectrum.
In every auction we have savvy collectors picking off incredible quality posters graded 5.5 - 8.0. Don't let the numerical grade deceive you; these posters provide tremendous value and quality.
Likewise, every auction features posters graded 8.5 - 9.2 that are stone-cold gems. We're talking about super clean pieces free of nicks, cuts, tears, and pinholes. These are posters that used to be described as "Dead Mint" before the introduction of CGC.
If you're a collector looking for the maximum bang for your collecting buck, take a close look at concert posters with slightly lower CGC grades. You'll be blown away by the quality you receive in return for the funds paid out. We have a steady stream of collectors that tell us how excited they are when they receive an item that significantly exceeds their expectations.
4) CGC is Not Just About Determining Condition.
While the numerical grade of a CGC poster is the top subject of conversation, there is another equally important layer of protection that CGC offers. CGC also provides independent attribution and detection of restoration.
Before CGC, you had to become a concert poster expert to buy in this marketplace safely. The law of the land was "buyer beware." Undisclosed hidden restoration and counterfeit posters were commonplace.
CGC has solved all that allowing collectors to buy and sell with confidence, and the results speak for themselves.
John Bogle, the legendary inventor of stock index funds, died tonight. His company went from zero to 5.1 trillion dollars under his management (yes, TRILLION) based on a single simple idea. Bogle is quoted as saying, "It was never my intent to build a colossus. Turns out, when you do what's right for investors, money pours in."
At PAE, we follow the very same ethos. You have our word that in 2019, we will continue working our hardest to provide you and all collectors a safe and secure place to buy, sell, and learn about vintage concert posters. Onward!