Formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California, 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 an early 20th-century copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the poster became known as Skeleton & 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    

2 Grateful Dead Tickets Sun July 5 2015 Chicago Soldier Field Sec 222 No ReserveGrateful Dead Tickets Pair Soldier Field Chicago July 5th 7/5/15 Sec 3192 Grateful Dead Tickets Sun July 5 2015 Chicago Soldier Field Sec 222 No Reserve2 Grateful Dead Tickets Sat July 4 2015 Chicago Soldier Field Sec 130 No ReserveGrateful Dead Fare Thee Well July 3,4,5 Chicago Mail Order Tickets 3 Day PassGrateful Dead, Fare Thee Well, Soldier Field Saturday July 4th 2015Grateful Dead Box Set Fillmore West 1969 The Complete Recordings + Bonus Disc!(2) Tickets Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well! - Soldier Field - 4th Of JulyGrateful Dead Fare Thee Well 3 Day Pass Chicago Soldier Field 07/03/15-07/05/151x Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Ticket 3-day Pass Chicago Soldier Field 7/3-7/5Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well 3 Day Pass ChicagoGrateful Dead - Dave's Picks - Volumes 1-4 With Bonus DiscGrateful Dead, Two Seats! Fare Thee Well, Soldier Field, Chicago 7/4/2015Grateful Dead 1 Ticket Soldier Field 7/4 With View (2) Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Final Show - Soldier Field - July 5 Two TicketsGrateful Dead, Fare Thee Well, Soldier Field Saturday July 4th 20152 Grateful Dead Tix Chicago 7/5 Last Show Full ViewGrateful Dead - Winterland 1977 - Box Set With Bonus Disc(6) Grateful Dead Front Floor Ga Pit Tix Chicago 3 Day Pass Fare Thee Well 3,4,5(2) Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well 3-day Passes July 3 4 5 Chicago Soldier Gd502 Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Tickets To 7/4 Chicago Soldier Field - Ga/pitGrateful Dead 2 Tickets Fare Thee Well Sold Out Soldier Field 7/5 (2 Tickets)Original Grateful Dead Concert Poster - Avalon Ballroom - 5/19/1966Grateful Dead - Closing Of Winterland Bonus DiscGrateful Dead 1980 Warfield Poster Original Print-run + Actual Handbill + My TixGrateful Dead - Beyond Description Bonus DiscOwsley Stanley Iii Grateful Dead Pendant (rare) 9999 Gold ==(grateful Dead2 Grateful Dead Tickets Sat July 4 2015 Chicago Soldier Field Sec 130 No ReserveGrateful Dead - Road Trips 2011 Bonus Disc Cd Cleveland 12-6-73Grateful Dead - May 1977 Box Set CompleteGrateful Dead Holographic Official Poster M Dubois Santa Clara Gd50 June 27 28Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Chicago 4 Reserved Tickets To Each Show - 12 Total!Grateful Dead Ga Floor Tickets Chicago 3 Day Pass Fare Thee Well July 3,4,5Grateful Dead - Road Trips - Complete Set - Including Bonus DiscsGrateful Dead Dave's Picks Vol 1-14, Near Complete Set, No Bonus DiscsGrateful Dead May 1977 Brand New In BoxGrateful Dead - Dead Ahead - Bonus DiscGrateful Dead 50th Official 11 Poster Set Santa Clara & Chicago Phish 20152 Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Tickets-soldier Field-july 5th-ga4 Seats 43 & 44Europe '72: The Complete Recordings Box Set Grateful Dead MintGrateful Dead - 2 Tickets - Section 222 - Soldier Field – Friday, July 3rdJerry Garcia Band Bay Area 1978 Pure Jerry 9 2 Cd Jgb Grateful Dead Ultra-rare !Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Complete Set Volumes 1-14 (includes All Bonus Discs)Grateful Dead - Filmore West Bonus Disc(2) Tickets Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well! - Soldier Field - July 3rd -- Row 9!!Grateful Dead Tickets July 3,4,5 2015 (chicago ) Fare Thee WellGrateful Dead -dave's Picks Volume 1 : The Mosque 5/25/77 Mint ConditionFare Thee Well Grateful Dead Friday Ticket Floor Sec 22 GaThe Grateful Dead Poster Richey Beckett Official Santa Clara Gd50 June 27 28The Grateful Dead 50th, All 3 Nights At Chicago's Soldier Field.7/4 Tix Fare Thee Well: The Grateful Dead W/ Trey Anastasio - 1 TixGrateful Dead - Dave's Picks - Volume 5 - Los Angeles, Ca - 11/17/73 - Sealed!!Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Ticket Chicago Friday 7/3 Ga Pit TicketGrateful Dead Fare Thee Well Ticket ** Chicago Sunday 7/5 Section 205 Club LevelGrateful Dead Fare Thee Well, Chicago, 7/5, 1 Ticket1 Of 3 Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Tickets SaturdayGrateful Dead Fare Thee Well, Soldier Field Chicago, 2 Tickets Sunday July 5thThe Grateful Dead Official Poster Justin Helton Santa Clara Gd50 June 27 28The Grateful Dead Ticket 07/03/15 (chicago)Grateful Dead 50th Official Poster Santa Clara & Chicago Phish Numbered Edition

Recent News: Grateful Dead Memorabilia

Source: Google News

Theaters plan simulcasts of Grateful Dead's final concerts
CT Post, June 29th

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., will host three nights of "Fare Thee Well," a high-definition, live simulcast of the Grateful Dead's final concerts, Friday, July 3, to Sunday, July 5, in Chicago's Soldier Field as part of its 50th...Read more

Bill Walton *really* loves the Grateful Dead
LA Observed, June 29th

What's left of the Grateful Dead is on a final farewell tour for the band's hard-core fans, and the former UCLA Bruin and NBA great Bill Walton is right there with the other Deadheads. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger Grateful Dead fan than Bill...Read more

Grateful Dead's Second 'Fare Thee Well' Show Offers Broader Mix: Photos ...
Ultimate Classic Rock, June 29th

The Grateful Dead immediately found a familiar groove on their second night of Fare Thee Well reunion shows at Santa Clara, Calif., opening with a fierce and funky take on “Feel Like a Stranger.” Throughout, they seemed much more relaxed than the night ...Read more

Grateful Dead Wrap First 'Fare Thee Well' Weekend
Wall Street Journal (blog), June 29th

The Grateful Dead have bid farewell to the Bay Area. On Sunday night, the band played another three-plus-hour show to a packed house at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., taking the stage a bit before 6:30 p.m. It was the second of five promised...Read more

Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Show Ends With Rainbow, Prompting ...
Ultimate Classic Rock, June 29th

Rainbows were seemingly everywhere last week: all over social media, the White House and even in the sky during the closing moments of the Grateful Dead's first 50th anniversary reunion show on June 27. Unlike the other rainbows, the Dead's wasn't ...Read more

Was the Grateful Dead concert rainbow a fake?
SFGate, June 29th

UPDATE: Paul Hoffman, the Dead's lighting director, said in a new post: "Guys. The rainbow was real." Meanwhile, Billboard also amended its report: "... Upon further investigation (the rainbow) appears to have been real. Turns out this band really does...Read more

Bill Walton on the road with Grateful Dead one last time
FOXSports.com, June 28th

SB Nation did the math: Walton has spent more minutes — about six times as much — at Grateful Dead shows than the 13,250 minutes he played in the NBA. In fact, SB Nation's stats are conservative, allotting just two hours per Dead show. Deadheads know ...Read more

Bill Walton has seen the Dead 850+ times
U-T San Diego, June 27th

Professional basketball legend Bill Walton, who has seen more concerts by The Grateful Dead than almost anyone, will play a major role at the Dead's upcoming 50th anniversary farewell tour heading to the Bay are and Chicago this summer. Here he poses ...Read more