It's often surprising for our new customers to discover that Psychedelic Art Exchange, the premier online auction for vintage psychedelic concert posters, calls Baltimore, Maryland its home. Albeit not overtly “magical” like San Francisco, THE City by the Bay, Baltimore Maryland, which borders the Chesapeake Bay, has its own unique charm and a surprising place in concert poster history.
This Baltimore poster connection is clearly illustrated in our current GIGANTIC June Mega Sale. There are several lots in the auction that connect the dots on this journey. Leading off with lot #2 is The Allman Brothers Band at the Park Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 17th, 1971. The poster was printed by Baltimore’s Globe Poster Company. From its opening in 1929 until its closure in 2011, Globe was the go-to poster print shop for live public event organizers. They date back to the time when posters were common advertising devices and were nailed up and pulled down without fanfare and mostly discarded. Globe's stylized bold, eye-catching letterpress designs and use of Day-Glo inks are considered the top prizes in the boxing style poster collector circles. Globe’s famed R&B posters of the 1950s and ’60s are eagerly hunted, but seldom turn up satisfying results, due to the minuscule survival rate. Even more elusive are the Globe Rock & Roll Posters of the 1960s. Seemingly plain at first glance, Globe’s 60’s Rock posters were mostly overlooked by most collectors as they were much less dramatic in design than the wild psychedelic posters that were common in the late ’60s. Still, the most desirable Globe 60’s rock posters seldom if ever appear for sale. We've only had the fortune of handling a couple of the major pieces over the years and they were all traded privately. The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin Globe posters are hard-fought trophies for top collectors. The legend of Globe Posters continues today at the Maryland Institute College of Art, as the prestigious art school acquired the presses after the shop closed. They are currently used in teaching printmaking and occasionally produce posters on a small scale for local events.
Also appearing in this auction is another incredible relic from Baltimore poster history. Lot #3 was created for a Derek and the Dominos Concert on Sunday, November 29th, 1970. The event was produced by Tree Frog Productions. Tree Frog Productions was a grassroots promotion company conceived of by local music-loving entrepreneurs who staged concerts at the newly constructed Painters Mill Music Fair, a small theater built “In The Round” with a revolving stage in Owings Mills Maryland, a suburb north of Baltimore. For a brief time, Tree Frog brought an eclectic blend of some of the most compelling musical artists of the day.
Tree Frog posters were printed in super small quantities and are next to impossible to find, in any condition. In fact, less than 200 copies of this poster were ever printed. The posters are one-color screen prints and were printed on a variety of different paper types within the print run. Psychedelic Art Exchange has scoured the area for over a decade searching out these posters and has put together a respectable yet incomplete collection (stay tuned to this channel for a more detailed presentation of the Tree Frog Archive, which we will be bringing to you in the near future!). This Derek & The Dominoes poster weaves itself back to lot #2, the Allman Brothers Band Globe poster which is a super scarce relic from the Duane Allman era. Duane’s influence on the Allmans legacy is undeniable. He is still revered as the greatest slide guitar player of all time or at least until Derek Trucks arrival some fans believe. Anyhow, posters from Duane’s lifetime, which was cut short just six months after this performance are FAR more desirable and valuable than any produced after his death. Though Duane Allman never toured with Derek and the Dominos, he did play on the band’s only studio album, The incomparable Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Consequently, the last show Duane Allman ever played in front of a live audience happened to be at the same venue listed on this poster, Painters Mill Music Fair. According to some accounts, there is a flyer or poster for the show, however, we have not been able to confirm that one truly exists. If anyone out there has any information regarding an authentic advertisement for Duane's last show, please contact Glen@concertpostergallery.com.
Along with the Painters Mill Music Fair, another important venue in Maryland concert history was Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is still active today. Since 1967, Merriweather has been regarded as one of the greatest music venues in the United States and has a rich history to back up this claim. Some of the hottest vintage posters in the world are Merriweather Post posters. 1969 Who/Led Zeppelin and the 1968 Jimi Hendrix (Dale Beeghly) posters are amongst the most precious concert posters of all time. Our President, Glen Trosch has a personal connection to lot #6 in our current auction. This poster was designed to promote Talking Heads’ appearance at Merriweather in August of 1983, which he joyfully attended and still recalls as being one of his top live music experiences! This show supported the band’s release "Speaking in Tongues", their fifth studio album, which became their highest-charting release. This ridiculously rare poster is not a mass-produced item, it was most likely printed only for box offices at that time. We didn't even know this poster was out there before this consignment arrived at our door.
To tie back to the SF Bay/ Chesapeake Bay comparison, we may not have been the center of the greatest musical /chemical/ social experiment of all time but did grow a uniquely quirky subculture out of that same phenomenon and to our good fortune the Blue Crab fished from our bay is far tastier than the Dungeness variety. Debate?
Our 136th auction, the Gigantic June Mega Sale, ends on Thursday, June 17th at 9:00 pm EDT.