Auctions | April 20, 2023

Beatles Shea Stadium and Jimi Hendrix ‘Flying Eyeball’ Lead Concert Poster Auction

Heritage Auctions

Jimi Hendrix concert poster (detail)

Posters and handbills from the David Swartz Concert Poster Collection featuring the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, and Ray Charles go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions' May 11 Music Memorabilia & Concert Posters Auction.

"David is the proud possessor of the world's largest and most valuable concert-poster collection, and he's making his auction-world debut with our spring sale," says Pete Howard, Heritage's Director of Concert Posters. "They run the gamut from high-graded psychedelic posters to super-rare cardboard-boxing styles. This will be the biggest concert-poster sale ever."

Posters from Swartz's collection have been loaned out to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The British Music Experience London O2 Center, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Getty Center, the Grammy Museum and Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland.

Among the items coming to sale are:

* the famed "Flying Eyeball" designed for Hendrix by psychedelic master Rick Griffin, known as BG-105 in the Bill Graham numbered series and signed in gold pen by the late Griffin

Jimi Hendrix concert poster
Heritage Auctions

Jimi Hendrix concert poster

Beatles poster
Heritage Auctions
Grateful Dead poster
Heritage Auctions
JFK poster
Heritage Auctions

* the cardboard window card commemorating the moment President John F. Kennedy was serenaded by Marilyn Monroe at Madison Square Garden ("Happy birthday, Mr. President…"), a very rare poster, with only two known in collectors' circles and besides Monroe it lists Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Jack Benny

* the Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground concert poster from The Trip on Hollywood's Sunset Strip in 1966

* concert poster for Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Ray Charles appearing in 1957 at Carnegie Hall. Others in that night's lineup were Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker with Zoot Sims and Sonny Rollins

Also included from the Swartz archive are posters from hallmark performances by Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead.