Auctions | March 26, 2024

Rare Altamont Speedway Festival Poster Leads Music Memorabilia & Concert Posters Auction

Heritage Auction

The Rolling Stones 1969 Altamont Festival Speedway concert poster

The lineup at the famous 1969 Altamont Festival included the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and Santana, but the act most closely associated with Altamont is the Rolling Stones. The rarest piece of historic memorabilia tied to this moment is the event poster leading Heritage Auction’s April 11 - 13 sale.

Heritage describe it as "almost certainly made on the cheap and sly... a ripped-off, recent publicity photo of the band sloppily printed and accompanied by only a few words 'Rolling Stones, Free Concert, Dick Carter's Altamont Speedway, Livermore, December 6, 1969.'” This particular run was printed too late to advertise the event, so it was sold for a buck and given away at the festival. 

The poster comes from the collection of music memorabilia collector David Swartz, whose trove has unspooled for a new generation of collectors via Heritage over the last two years.

“I see a poster that was rushed and done on the cheap as the lack of time allowed for," said Swartz. "It was from a full-color photo by Ron Rafelli for a novelty poster shot in a London Alley in ’69, not long after Mick Taylor replaced Brian Jones. I believe that what makes this poster so valuable and desirable is that it has all the ingredients. It commemorates a tragic event, it features a major band headlining, with photo, controversial characters Hells Angels as security, and scarcity. Not many of this poster survived."

Other highlights among the 400 posters going under the hammer include a Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium concert poster from the office of concert promoter Sid Bernstein, and Grateful Dead’s 1966 Skeleton & Roses Avalon Ballroom concert poster.