CGC-graded Jimi Hendrix 'Flying Eyeball' Poster Sells for Record $175,000 in Heritage Sale

Posted on 5/16/2023

The rockin’ price beat the previous record for a CGC-graded concert poster by over $35,000.

As a musician, Jimi Hendrix broke many barriers and changed the landscape of music. Now, a 1968 Jimi Hendrix concert poster graded by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) has broken a record in Heritage Auctions’ Music Memorabilia and Concert Posters sale on May 14, 2023.

The highest CGC-certified item in this sale was a Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fillmore Auditorium & Winterland, February 1-4, 1968 original poster graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26016). The rockin’ $175,000 price that it realized is the highest for any CGC-certified concert poster offered at auction.

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This poster was designed by Rick Griffin, a renowned artist of concert posters who is recognized as one of the 'Big Five' psychedelic poster artists during the 1960s. Hailing from Southern California, Griffin's creative upbringing drew inspiration from comic books, Mad magazine and the vibrant hot-rod car culture prevalent in the 1950s. Among his influences was Von Dutch, a pin-stripe artist renowned for his depiction of the winged eyeball.

In 1963, Griffin was involved in a severe car accident that nearly claimed his life and left him with a near-fatal injury to his left eye. During his year-long recovery period, he had to wear an eyepatch. These experiences led to the recurrent depiction of the eyeball motif in Rick's artwork.

This is the first time a CGC 9.8 example of this poster has been offered at auction, according to Heritage. The price realized was significantly higher than the previous record for the most expensive CGC-graded concert poster: a CGC 9.6 example of the Skeleton & Roses, Grateful Dead original poster for the Avalon Ballroom, September 16-17, 1966. That poster was sold by Heritage for $137,500 in April 2022.

CGC 9.2 example of that Grateful Dead poster was offered in this auction, where it realized $81,250 (lot 26547). Bindweed Press created this poster to promote two concerts taking place in San Francisco.

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Other CGC-certified concert posters sold in this auction included:

  • a Plastic Inevitable Show, Velvet Underground and Nico original poster for The Trip, May 3-18, 1966 graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26114) that realized $37,500
  • a Can You Pass the Acid Test? Muir Beach, California, 1965 original poster graded CGC 9.4 (lot 26067) that realized $35,000
  • a Grateful Dead, Kings Beach Bowl, Lake Tahoe, February 22-24, 1968 original poster graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26577) that realized $25,000
  • a Steppenwolf, Fillmore West, August 27-September 1, 1968 original poster graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26017) that realized $18,750
  • a Grateful Dead, Earl Warren Showgrounds, April 29, 1967 original poster graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26575) that realized $15,000
  • a Beatles Final Concert, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, August 29, 1966 original poster graded CGC 8.5 (lot 26497) that realized $13,750
  • a MC5, Grande Ballroom, October 7-8, 1966 original poster graded CGC 6.0 (lot 26566) that realized $13,750
  • a Pink Floyd, Oakland, Coliseum, May 9-10, 1977 original poster graded CGC 9.8 (lot 26107) that realized $8,750
  • a The Who, Boston Tea Party, November 11-12, 1969 original poster graded CGC 9.4 (lot 26036) that realized $8,750

Prices realized include a buyer’s premium.

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