Formed in 1965 in San Francisco, the Grateful Dead attracted a large concert following until the untimely death in 1995 of lead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia. In its wake, the band left behind scores of albums, most of them live recordings from the Dick’s Picks and Road Trips series, as well as a monumental amount of collectible memorabilia.

Vintage Grateful Dead posters, handbills, postcards, and ticket stubs from the 1960s are particularly in demand. The rarest of these are the flyers and handbills advertising the fabled Acid Tests organized by author Ken Kesey and held between 1965 and 1967 at various venues from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Grateful Dead was the house band for these seminal events.

By 1966, the Grateful Dead was a fixture in San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium, both of which produced posters and postcards to advertise their shows. That year, Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse created one of the most famous Grateful Dead Avalon posters, known among collectors as FD026. Based on an illustration the artists found in a 19th-century copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the poster became known as Skull & Roses, thanks to the prominence of a rose-covered skeleton in its center. A version of this poster would go on to become an album cover for the band in 1971 and remains one of its most enduring and collectible images.

Over at the Fillmore, artist Wes Wilson was creating posters that helped define the psychedelic lettering style of the day. In 1966, several of his posters for Grateful Dead concerts featured photographs by Herb Greene. One of the best of these, BG032, had a portrait of a leather-jacketed, Cheshire-cat-grinning Jerry Garcia staring straight into the camera. Another, BG023, paired a group photo of the band with one of the Jefferson Airplane, which at the time got top billing.

Fillmore promoter Bill Graham hired an artist named James H. Gardner to create a new version of this poster for a summer-of-1967 show of the Airplane and the Dead (they were billed on the poster as representatives of the "the San Francisco scene") in Toronto. Known as BG074, the poster used the same Herb Greene photo of the Grateful Dead below a new one of the Jefferson Airplane, and was organized almost exactly like Wilson’s original. But due to the remote location and low print run, it is today one of the most collectible Grateful Dead posters from the late 1960s.

Other San Francisco artists to create Grateful Dead posters include Rick Griffin, whose January 1969 poster for a series of shows at the Avalon (ABR690124) was repurposed that summer for the band’s third album, Aoxomoxoa.

Which brings us to vinyl. When the Grateful Dead recorded their first few albums, the process in the studio was, by most accounts, a good deal less than perfect. Thus, in the early 1970s, Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa, the band’s second and third albums, were remixed to improve their sound quality. This pleased the band but annoyed some of its fans, who preferred the original muddy mixes, which are now quite collectible...

Deadheads also cherish ticket stubs from the 1960s and beyond. Those for shows at the Fillmore and Avalon were usually mini, two-color versions of the poster, so some collectors strive to collect a concert’s poster, postcard, and tickets to create complete sets.

Ticketron issued one of the band’s most famous tickets for a show on October 20, 1974. Prior to this concert, the Dead had announced its intention to take a hiatus. No one really knew if this was just a break or a break-up, so the ticket for that show was printed with the words “THE LAST ONE” in big, blocky letters on its front. And for some reason, the band’s name was misspelled—Greateful instead of Grateful.

Of course, the Grateful Dead did not break up. In fact, during the 1980s and early 1990s, they were routinely one of the highest-grossing touring bands on the planet. Stage passes from these decades, particularly uncut sheets of unused passes like the "Truck Puzzle" (12/3/92-12/17/92) by Tony Reonegro are highly collectible. After the death of Garcia, the band created a line of collectibles for kids in the form of stuffed bean-bag bears, similar to Beanie Babies but with Grateful Dead themes.

In recent years, the band has released limited-edition soundboard recordings of entire runs at the Fillmore West (four nights in a row from 1969) and Winterland (three nights in a row from 1973). These sets routinely turn up for resale on eBay.

Even more successful are the recent auctions at Bonham’s of items that had been collected by former Grateful Dead road managers and band associates. In these tony, auctioneer surroundings—a far cry from the band’s communal, 1960s digs in Haight-Ashbury—everything from gold records to tie-dyed speaker covers to Harley Davidson motorcycles have been auctioned off, sometimes for breathtaking prices.

Among the most prized items at these affairs (besides the original album art and the handmade guitars, which have brought tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars) have been the beat-up equipment and attaché cases. Despite their road-weary condition, or perhaps because of it, these modest cases have fetched upwards of $15,000 each.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Wish you'd visited San Francisco in the late 1960s? Get a quick hit with this comprehensive collection of psychedel… [read review or visit site]

Grateful Dead Tickets and Passes

Grateful Dead Tickets and Passes

Wish you'd kept your stubs from when you followed The Dead around? Check out this collection of over 3,000 Grateful… [read review or visit site]

Remember Eddie Cochran

Remember Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran died in 1960 at the age of 21, but his legacy lives on at Remember Eddie Cochran. The site pays tribu… [read review or visit site]

Dylanstubs.com

Dylanstubs.com

Hey babe, check out this database of over 2,900 Bob Dylan ticket stubs and concert posters, assembled with the help… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Grateful Dead Daves Picks Volume 1 (factory Sealed)!!!rare!!!the Grateful Dead Sun Face Bronze Belt Buckle By Owsley "bear" StanleyGrateful Dead Fillmore West 1969 Complete Recordings 10 Cd Box Set W/bonus Disc!Grateful Dead Daves Picks Volume 2 W/ Bonus Disc (factory Sealed)Original Mouse Studios Grateful Dead Poster Handbill , Pooh ! 1966 Bola SeteGrateful Dead Spring 1990 Complete Box Set Brand New In Box!!! Oop! Rare!Lot Of 7 Rock Picture Disc Lp's Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Wendy O. WilliamsGrateful Dead Daves Picks Volume 4 9/24/76 (factory Sealed)Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Volume 11: Wichita, Ks 11/17/72 - Brand New & SealedGrateful Dead Dave's Picks Vol 1 The Mosque 5/25/1977 Rare! Daves Picks Garcia#296 Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Volume 11 - 11/17/1972 Wichita, Ks - New Jerry Grateful Dead May 1977 Box Set #2549 BoxsetGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 19 Fairground Arena Ok City 10/19/1973 Audio CdGrateful Dead Dave's Picks 2013 Bonus Disk 1cd From Fillmore Aud. 12/21/69Grateful Dead Spring 1990 Box Set #3920 Of 9000Grateful Dead Daves Picks Volume 3 10/22/71 (factory Sealed)Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Vol 8, Fox Theatre, Atlanta Ga 11/30/80 Still SealedGrateful Dead Winterland 1977 10 Cd W/bonus Disc Complete Recordings Box Set1972 Grateful Dead Willie Nelson New Riders The Purple Sage Meadowlands T ShirtGrateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 3 June 1974 With Bonus Disc - 3 Cd'sGrateful Dead 1967 Gold Label 1st Lp In Shrink Garage Pop Psych Mod Jerry GarciaGrateful Dead Dave's Picks 2014 Complete Series 13cd's MintGrateful Dead Live At The Cow Palace + Spirit Of '76 Bonus Disc Cd! 1976 4cd SetGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 20 Capital Centre 9/25/1976 Audio CdGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 12 Providence Civic Center 6/26/1974  audio CdGrateful Dead Dave's Picks Vol.9 Brand New/sealed Missoula 5/14/74 Wall Of SoundGrateful Dead Dave's Picks Vol 10 + Bonus Disc Oop Jerry Garcia FurthurThe Grateful Dead: Dave's Picks Limited Ed Vol 11 & Vol 12! Bonus Disks Rare Nr!Grateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 22 Kings Beach  lake Tahoe 2/23-24/1968 Audio CdGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 16 Filmore Auditorium 11/8/1969 Audio CdGrateful Dead Dicks Picks Vol.15 Fillmore Auditorium 3cd SetGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 15 Englishtown, Nj 9/3/1977 Audio CdGrateful Dead - Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 3: Wall Of Sound 1974 (2 Cd's)1978 Grateful Dead Blues Brothers New Riders Of The Purple Sage Blue RoseGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 17 Boston Garden 9/25/1991 Audio CdGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 14 Boston Music Hall 11/30/1973 Audio CdWinterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings Box Set By Grateful Dead (cd,...Jerry Garcia Plays Dylan W/plays Again Bonus Disc!!! Grateful Dead Bob DylanGrateful Dead Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 3 Summer '71 With Bonus DiscGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 21 Richmond Coliseum 11/1/1985 Audio CdGrateful Dead Fillmore West 1969-complete Recordings #8574 Of 10,000 (10 Cd Box)Intersound Ivp Vintage Preamp, Grateful Dead Guitar Processor, Free ShippingThe Grateful Dead Dancing Bears Christmas Ornament Set Of 4 New HippiesLive At Winterland, May 30th 1971 Grateful Dead Vinyl 2 Lps Record Store Day RsdGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 3 Pembroke Pines,fla 5/22/1977  audio CdGrateful Dead Dancing Bear SlippersThe Grateful Dead - 1st Grateful Dead - 1967 - Gold W Brothers Label - StereoStanley Mouse/kelley Zippo Lighter Dancing Turtles 1998 New No Box Grateful DeadGrateful Dead Dick's Picks Vol. 8 Harpur College Binghamton,ny 5/2/1970 Audio CdCrimson, White & Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989 [box] By Grateful Dead...Tie Dye T-shirt Xl - Hand Made - Tubers Tie Dyes - Grateful Dead - PhishGrateful Dead Winterland 1973 10 Cd W/bonus Disc Complete Recordings Box SetMichael Everett Widespread Panic Atlanta 2005 Poster (grateful Dead Phish ArtistOriginal Grateful Dead Fillmore/ Bill Graham Bg41 Concert Poster 1966San Francisco Giants Grateful Dead Uncle Sam Sga Bobblehead New BobbleVintage 1977 Grateful Dead New Riders The Purple Sage Winterland New Years EveThe Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack: 5-cd Set - Includes Bonus Filmstrip!Grateful Dead Concert Ticket Stub Woodstock 8/16/69 Saturday The Grateful Dead Lp "live" Private Press "felt Forum L.a.1971" Nm-Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978 By Grateful Dead (cd, Oct-2008, 3 Discs, Rhino...

Recent News: Grateful Dead Memorabilia

Source: Google News

Grateful Dead tribute event 'Mobile's Dead' could be the biggest show on ...
AL.com, November 26th

MOBILE, Alabama - If fellowship is the cure for loneliness then LoDa is going to be the most illuminated place in town tonight. For the second straight year, some of the best musicians the area has ever produced will gather to pay homage to the...Read more

Grateful Dead, "Spring 1990 (The Other One)" (Rhino)
nwitimes.com, November 25th

This box set cover image released by Rhino Records shows the Grateful Dead 's "Spring 1990 (The Other One)" box set. (AP Photo/Rhino Records). 2014-11-25T15:30:00Z 2014-11-26T10:56:01Z Grateful Dead, "Spring 1990 (The Other One)" (Rhino)The ...Read more

Ex-Grateful Dead manager laments music biz changes
CNBC, November 25th

The Grateful Dead always allowed tapers. That's why there are so many Dead fans today because every show is taped and now they're releasing this music," he said. "They made a fortune on merchandise and performing. … but it's a different world now."...Read more

Four Arrested In Wallingford Outside Grateful Dead Tribute Band Performance
Hartford Courant, November 23rd

Four found with drugs outside Grateful Dead tribute performance in Wallingford Saturday night. WALLINGFORD – Four arrests were made in the parking lot outside a Grateful Dead tribute band performance at the Oakdale Theater Saturday night, police said...Read more

The Power of No: An Interview With Former Grateful Dead Manager Richard Loren
Newsweek, November 23rd

Legend has it that when the suits from Warner Bros. came from L.A. to visit the Grateful Dead in San Francisco in the '60s—and what suits they wore! blue blazers with the WB logo emblazoned on them—they wouldn't take any food or drink from the band ...Read more

10 Questions About Potential Grateful Dead Reunion
JamBase, November 21st

Back in January, Bob Weir expressed his desire to celebrate the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary in 2015. Weir told Rolling Stone's Benjy Eisen, "We have to do something commemorative. I think we owe it to the fans, we owe it to the songs, we owe it to ...Read more

Phil Reisman: Do not speak ill of the dead - the Grateful Dead, that is
The Journal News | LoHud.com, November 17th

It is just one of many inside stories Loren relates in a self-published book, "High Notes: A Rock Memoir, Working With Rock Legends, Jefferson Airplane Through the Doors to the Grateful Dead." Saturday, he will make the book available to ticket holders...Read more

Grateful Dead: An early Silicon Valley startup
San Jose Mercury News, November 7th

"The Grateful Dead were in fact an early startup and can be included as one of the many wild success stories to emerge from Silicon Valley," said Jaime Baldovinos, a Mill Valley computer software developer who researched song lyrics that reveal the...Read more