We like to let you know which posters we are the most excited about offering for each of our auctions here at Psychedelic Art Exchange. For our current special auction, we went straight to the source for this information. Houston Freeburg, the consignor behind our sale titled "The Counterculture - An Exclusive Offering of Vintage Headshop and Blacklight Posters", kindly educated us further about this material while telling us which posters are his favorites, and which he thinks might be overlooked sleepers. Freeburg is one of the world's greatest experts in vintage headshop and blacklight posters, and has invaluable information to share about these amazing, historic items.
What are your favorite lots in the auction and why?
Of all my concert, black light, travel, Disney, & movie posters (some 2000+), I still maintain that Pandora's "Mr. Experience", Lot #2, is my all time favorite of the entire collection. It is the 1st poster I ever bought back in 1967. Not only is the subject matter that of my favorite musician of all time, the artwork is simply magnificent. The choice of colors and the transformation under black light are breathtaking for me. It is the only poster I have on display in my studio. I have turned down numerous offers of over $1000 for one of mine. The one in the current auction is my finest piece of the five that I own.
Second up is "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'', Lot #4, not only because of its content, that being of the most popular rock group of all time, but the reference to LSD, and the fantastic artwork. One does not need a black light to enjoy the psychedelic allure of this poster, but it does make a significant enhancement. Great images of the "Lonely Hearts Club Band"! And as rare as they come! I've yet to see one on eBay, or anywhere for that matter. I was quite reluctant to include this one in the auction, as it is the only one I own.
Then there is Steve Sach's "One Side Makes You Taller" ("Alice and the Caterpillar") Lot #9. Sachs, in my opinion, was the most artistic of all the late sixties counterculture artists, and the definitive conceptualist of the era in his works. Putting together many of Lewis's characters intertwined with the quote with such perfection, not to mention the Airplane's reference in "White Rabbit". It is a masterpiece that some lucky bidder will own and know for certain he or she has a poster yours truly can no longer covet and call it his own. Alas, it was my only copy also. I dare anyone to find the same original poster in such a fine condition (or any condition at all). Bidders beware! Sach's posters, many of which are in this auction, will bring in megabucks in the not too distant future. Be sure not to overlook the Beatles portraits (Lots #53 to #56)
Another of my early acquisitions was Sgt. Pepper (The Beatles) in full regalia (Lot #57). Seven, (I believe) vital colors which combine to epitomize the true black light phenomenon, all artistically rendered to display the essence of the Sgt. Pepper theme. Another masterpiece! Fortunately, I have one more of these, but not in the fabulous condition found in this lot. I would gladly buy this back from the lucky winner at any time, if it would ever come to that. I merely included it in these consignments to capture the attention the auction so well deserves. Same goes for the aforementioned above.
Which lots do you think might be overlooked by bidders?
In a word: "POLITICS!" If you are into this auction for the money, here's your chance to make a small fortune in the years to come.
The Timothy Leary for Governor poster (Lot #10). This one HAS IT ALL. Art by Joe Roberts Jr. (see Lot #3), perhaps second only to Steve Sachs in late 60s poster art. A multitude of incandescent colors which blend beautifully. But first and foremost, a somewhat viable, albeit unlikely, proposal for the Father of "Psychedelia" to perhaps hold the highest seat in the most liberal state in the US.
George McGovern for President (Lot #31). Nowhere on the web can I document this, but word has it McGovern endorsed this beauty. Very, very nice black light rendition of an apparent photograph. The monetary appreciation over time will no doubt be phenomenal. (Quite like Leary above and Lot #41 "Bobby Is My Choice in '68").
"Peace For All Time" (Lot #45). I am ever so slightly biased because Specialty Imports was from my hometown of Memphis. Everyone has seen the original iconic image from D-Day, but the translation into an anti-war work of creative art is sheer genius. But HONESTLY! Who out there can tell me why it is not only heart rendering, but most profound and effective. Two, not seven, colors with a common font used for many commercial ads and products, not the distorted psychedelic lettering as, say, Wes Wilson, pioneered.
Other sleepers, in a word: HENDRIX.. I included 14 Hendrix posters in this auction because Jimi is without a doubt the Godfather, official spokesman, and for the most part, bona fide founder of psychedelic music! God only knows what he would have accomplished had he not passed away so prematurely. Quite a few of these original masterpieces are not to be found anywhere. Looking at a couple in particular. "The Black Sun" by Ron Walotsky for Dream Merchants (Lot #12), as the description reads, it "looks stunning both under a blacklight and on its own". It is gorgeous in its depiction of Hendrix, ethereal and heavenly, almost as if the poster seemed a posthumous testimony of art done well after 1968 (when the piece was created) and Jimi had passed on. Note the colorful halo and other stunning embellishments which surround the portrait. Truly a tour de force which I have not seen another since the founding of eBay in 1995. This one ranks high on my list of rarities like Pandora's "Mr. Experience" (Lot #2), but much, much rarer.
"Jimi Hendrix Experience" (Lot #34). I've seen a number of variations of this poster, but very few of the flocked, blacklight variety. The image of the trio going up in flames with a unique font "afire", when under a blacklight, the faces turn an eerie blue.
"Jimi Hendrix....Are You Experienced" (Lot #51) an oversized showpiece which totally transforms into a new dimension when exposed to a black light, with only one silkscreened color excluding the white background. Another true rarity!
For those who care not for the blacklight effect so much, I recommend revisiting Lot #28. This was earlier than most pieces whose credits alone make it a virtual wise and prudent investment alone. Rik Vig and The Purple Realm produced very few posters in an extremely minimal quantity. If I were the fortunate winner of this gem, I would simply frame it sans black light. This poster obviously became available VERY shortly after the release of Hendrix's debut LP, "Are You Experienced". If one is looking for a truly historical specimen, this would be very high on my list of recommendations.
Finally, "War is Not Healthy For Children and other Living Things" (Lot #39), the iconic, original poster with a quote full of peaceful realization (As opposed to the more demanding and demeaning "Fuck The Draft" poster.) This one has been duplicated countless times, but offered here is the absolute original in exceptional condition. Let's call it THE poster child of rebellion.
BELIEVE ME! ALL of the lots up for auction were carefully picked from my collection because they were not only the rarest, but ones that Glen and the Psychedelic Art Exchange would be proud to offer. They will always appreciate in value, and can be enjoyed in the meantime adorning an appropriate spot in one's household. In my some 50+ years of collecting, I am also proud to say that what I have before you in this auction will not only represent a ground floor opportunity, but will give the fortunate winners an opportunity to own a piece of the past, that being an era of particularly important significance which, undoubtedly, will go down in the history books.
Our 135th auction titled "The Counterculture - An Exclusive Offering of Vintage Headshop and Blacklight Posters" closes on Thursday, May 27th at 9:00 pm EDT.