Grateful Dead "Skeleton & Roses" Poster Realizes $118,750 at Heritage Auction

Posted on 11/19/2019

This realized price shows the increasing importance of CGC certification for classic rock collectibles like this.

LEFT: 1966 Grateful Dead "Skeleton & Roses" Concert Poster, graded CGC 9.8. RIGHT: poster artist Stanley Mouse.

An original Stanley Mouse concert poster certified by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) sold for six figures at a Heritage Auctions sale in November 2019. This astonishing result further reinforces the growing interest in concert posters, as well as the importance of CGC certification.

This famous Family Dog psychedelic concert poster from the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco graded an impressive CGC 9.8. It advertised shows in September 1966 by a band that is one of the most enduring of all time. The Grateful Dead launched their debut self-titled album the next year in 1967.

Well known in the psychedelic poster world, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley would often search the shelves of the San Francisco Public Library to obtain images and ideas they could then build their posters around. They discovered a series of skeleton drawings by British book illustrator E.J. Sullivan. One depicted a skeleton picking roses and assembling a wreath from the flowers, which made the cut for this poster design.

Harshen Patel, CGC Director of Operations, had this to say; “The realized prices for concert posters like this demonstrate that pop culture is as much art as it is history. As the hobby grows each year, a greater value is placed on collectibles that are presented and preserved as both.”

CGC certifies concert posters by Family Dog, Neon Rose, Grande Ballroom and Art of Rock. Under its modern tier, CGC also accepts submissions from Bill Graham Presents, New Fillmore and Moonalice.

CGC employs a 10-point grading scale for concert posters that is based on the industry standard the company established for comics, magazines, photos and lobby cards. CGC-graded concert posters are sealed in tamper-evident holders of a heavy gauge archival plastic. The fully transparent front and back allows complete viewing of the poster and protects from any improper handling or soiling.

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