Poster History & Investing

Vintage Safety Posters Save The British from Demise

Well, maybe not like the Invasion of Normandy but vintage safety posters were taken very seriously in the UK from 1930 into the 1970s. These were supported by British charity organization RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention Of Accidents). The posters are on public display now from the RoSPA and prints are available to the public. This showing was actually made possible from a discovery of nearly 700 posters from cleaning out an old warehouse. (see video below)

Birth of The RoSPA

Vintage Safety PostersThe organization started some 97 years ago with its first safety campaign, getting pedestrians to walk facing traffic. The program was an overwhelming success saving a huge percentage of pedestrian lives. So, successful that between 1924 and 1942 there were millions of safety codes written including “The Highway Code”, “Analysis of Causes of Accidents” and the “Kerb Drill” (this was a kerb drill designed for children)

Keep The English Safe!

The vintage safety posters did not come along until the 1930s. The campaigns continued on with 1945s “Safety Standards for Fireguards” (fire safety), “The Cycling Proficiency Scheme” (for bicyclists) in 1947 and “The Tufty Club” 1961 (geared towards children with a cartoon squirrel family giving safety tips).

Every year or couple of years it seems a new safety campaign would be created for the times. In the 1950s there was Industrial and factory safety, 1960s the drink-drive campaign, 1980s wheel chair proficiency program (for the disabled). Many, many successful safety campaigns were created and the RoSPA is still alive and running today!

The U.S.A. and Posters for The People 

Great minds think alike. That would be The UK and The USA.  I wrote an article earlier this year America Shows Guts With Vintage Community Posters on the  WPA (Works Projects Administration).  It was started in 1935 as part of the Roosevelt “New Deal” program. This American program promoted vintage safety posters but also community driven messages to enhance peoples lives and promote hope and prosperity. The program was designed to put people back to work and get positive slogans and messages out. The WPA posters were more of the “woodblock” printing and art deco style. It was a huge advancement in American poster design and printing at the time.  But, when examined today, they are aesthetically pleasing collectable little works of art.

We Love Vintage Posters

Our Magical History Tour @ Famous Rock Posters is growing in scope. We began our journey concerning ourselves with the aesthetics,  collectibility, and investment quality of vintage rock posters from the 60’s. But, when you research the origins of art and posters it leads you to some incredibly interesting connections and stories. Pieces of the puzzle that would eventually bloom into little masterpieces we called the “psychedelic  rock posters”.

The history of vintage posters and counter culture evolvement is amazing. Vintage safety posters, propaganda posters, public service posters and even travel posters (1930’s-40’s) were influential and hugely successful campaigns around the world.  An effective art form getting a message to the people (for better or worse).


RoSPA Vintage Safety Posters

USA -Posters For The People

WPA and Federal Art Project

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How Soviet Propaganda Posters Rivaled U.S.A.’s Posters For The People

In May 2013 I did a piece on American vintage community posters from 1935-1943. Little did I know (until today) that there was a Soviet Propaganda Posters program running almost parallel to the one we had. (Why am I not surprised?)  Just think about it. The Soviet Union (now Russia) was our biggest competitor and threat at the same time. (The Cold War, Space Race, nuclear ARMS race, etc.) ussrThe posters will be displayed @ The GRAD (Gallery for Russian Arts and Design) in London this summer.

Actually, if you look at the focus of each program they are different. The Soviet propaganda posters were specifically targeted to Western culture.  Enticing visitors to come see the glamourous, beautiful, picturesque country of The USSR.  Posters exuding “we are not the enemy, but a friendly, leisurely, gorgeous and modern place for a trip” with slick language, graphics and colors. The designs of the posters were of an avant garde or art deco type of style.  That style was very recognizable and popular in America and Europe at the time.

American Posters For The People

Around 1935 the good ole’ U.S. of A. created The WPA (Works Projects Administration) to put people back to work. The affiliated FPA (Federal Art Project) put artists back to work. It started the Posters Division to enlighten, give hope and inform people of community activities. They were created to make public announcements (e.g. bridge openings, health concerns, cultural events) and give insight into the general welfare of Americans. These posters have an art deco look.  However, they are even more stylized through the introduction of woodblock, silkscreening and lithography processing. A defining style and continuity runs through this series of posters that speaks “USA”.

Intourist – USSR Poster Program

Of course with a division named “Intourist” you can imagine the posters were focused on travel.  These Soviet propaganda posters are superbly crafted, rare and highly collectable.  But, the most glaring thing is, they represent a country that was never there!  They were over the top.  Some instances suggesting travel to the Soviet Union as exotic as a trip to The French Rivera. As a matter of fact, after examining the posters, you would be hard pressed to distinguish one place from the other. A sophisticated, luxurious destination never to be found.

Most of the USSR art deco travel posters were  pre -World War II and the program started in 1929. So, it had a very short (if not highly productive) existence. But, after this alluring eloquent campaign to lure travelers from around the world, The Soviets shut it down. During the late 30’s the Soviet propaganda posters program was replaced by a a more “party” driven military / textile poster program promoting the union.  Critics have noted these were propaganda driven, as well.


More Soviet Posters

Posters For The People Freebies

America Shows Guts With Vintage Community Posters



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Tons of Beatles Rock Memorabilia Found in Jersey

Not to be mistaken for “Jersey Shores” U.S.A., our story comes from across the pond.  In August of 1963, world supergroup The Beatles toured The Channel  Islands.  This leg of the tour incorporated different ballrooms and auditoriums  throughout crown dependancies of Jersey and Guernsey in The English Channel.  The Beatles Rock MemorabiliaPosters and all types of Beatles rock memorabilia are being made available to commemorate their debut concert tour from 1963.  August 6, 2013 (Next Tuesday) begins a 50th Anniversary celebration of  The Beatles coming to The Channel Islands. The original tour of the Islands lasted August 6th-10th 1963.

Tracks, LTD.

Tracks, LTD. is  one of the world’s largest dealer in Beatles rock memorabilia. During the celebration, they are encouraging the public to submit any Beatles artifacts for free appraisal. This (of course) includes rock posters, concert programs, handbills and ticket stubs etc. It works the same way as the TV show “American Pickers”. People have junk in their attic’s or basements they haven’t cleaned out in decades. Only to find artifacts of rock or Beatlemania ephemera that are rare, collectible and sometimes very, very valuable.   Tracks, LTD. says for some reason The Beatles rock memorabilia have doubled in value within the last five years. This major increase is much quicker and higher than most other rock ‘n roll collectibles.

Here are a few examples of how much your posters and stuff may be worth:

  • A Channel Islands Beatle concert poster may go for as much as $12,000
  •  Signed record albums could go from $9,000 -$12,000
  • Signed record album of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is one of the most coveted. it will go at auction for around $37,500
  •  Also, the value of printed pieces, programs and photos of The Beatles has increased tremendously.  They are now more collectable & popular than any other rock stars memorabilia.

Beatle Investing

The general public and collectors are watching rock memorabilia allot more closely and more seriously as investments these days.  It is becoming, not just a nostalgic whimsical kind a thing, but something worth investing in.  Especially with the sharp increase in value on Beatles rock memorabilia.  You actually have a “better than fair chance” of turning pieces around for a profit in a relatively short period of time.  Remember, their value has doubled or tripled  in the past 2 to 5 years. That’s smart money.

Along with Beatle posters and signed Beatle record albums,  written material, autographs, fab four clothing, personal items and original posters from The Channel Islands tour are in very high demand. These items will fetch some high bids when auctioned. Also, artifacts of other rock stars are on the rise.   Jimi Hendrix,  The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Bob Marley.  Rock memorabilia from these artists are highly valued,  but not as much as items from the fab four.

Links of interest:

Tracks, LTD. – Best in The Beatles Memorabilia


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Why Cool Rock Posters From The 60’s are Most Valuable

Posters have always been in trend, whether it is the movie posters or the amazing rock posters. But during the early 60’s there was a huge trend of rock posters of different bands and rock artists. People used to go crazy with the attractive and cool rock posters that were available in the market at cheap prices. Designing such posters was quite tough, as it required the state of art, technique and the style to come up with an interesting idea. You could find these posters on all popular spots like bus stops, telephone poles, bulletin boards and other important places.

Again, the cool rock posters are in high demand and it is owing to their value and importance. Here are a few reasons why rock posters are so valuable.

Historical Importance

The Sound-Cool Rock Posters On Sale
The Sound-Wes Wilson

According to the historians, cool rock posters have a great value, as they were the significance during the social movement of the 20th century. As compared to the other collectibles, such form of art helped in shaping the nation. That is why these rock posters are considered to be so important and valued for the interesting ideas behind them.

The increasing popularity of rock posters 

There is a huge demand of rock posters all over the work. Fans of music are looking for these rare collections and that this why they have recently become very popular among the people. Not only the fans but also even art lovers want to include them in their collection. The collectors from America are also looking for this rare stuff, which have a lot of historical value. It is because of the simple reason that no other collectible is able to represent the era of the 1960’s, just like the cool rock posters.

Displayed in museums

Designing posters is an art, which is quite difficult to expertise. Many major museums like The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Laguna Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art etc. have organized a number of exhibitions and focusing more on the rock posters. The main motive of these exhibitions was to let the people know about this Psychedelic Art and create awareness about it. Thus, it is a good medium to explore rare and beautiful things at one platform.

Incredible beauty

Cool rock posters are defined by bold colors and a unique message, which every poster depicts. It is a great way to convey your message about the event that will be organized. Even the most popular event promoters like Late Bill Graham are of the view that music is an art and therefore these posters are a fine promotional tool.

Small collection of posters

In the 1960’s, cool rock posters were used for promoting different kinds of events. These posters were pasted on poles, walls and bus stops and as soon as the event was over, it was replaced with a new poster. The only people who were fond of these posters were teenagers who were attracted towards these amazingly designed cool rock posters. At that time, less attention was given to preserving the collectibles and therefore only a few rare collections is available now.

Interesting places to go:

Tips on Successful Poster Collecting and Investing

Rock Memorabilia For Sale

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Why Rare Victor Moscoso Poster Art is Priceless

Rare Victor Moscoso Poster Art
Versatility and Love

Why is rare Victor Moscoso poster art priceless to me? I’m trying to examine that in this post.  Just perfect art in my opinion.  What is it?  Why does this attract me so much? Could it be he is a Spanish artist? It might be-who knows.

Some of my first formal training or awareness of classic art was exposure to early Spanish artists.   I could do without Monet or Van Gogh or Renoir – (although greatly admired) did not float my boat.

iconWhat did …were the men from Spain – Goya, Greco, Picasso, Dali.  To me the art was just unfathomable and extraordinary to unbelievable heights. What minds, What imagination.  The lineage of great art does not stop in the 19th century; which is apparent in rare Victor Moscoso poster art – painting and other multi-media. Maybe it is the bold strokes and exquisite choice of color inherent to the works of these Spaniards.

Ga Ga for Goya! (30 March 1746–16 April 1828)  he lived to be 82 years young, way beyond what most men lived in the 19th century. (Which was about 47 years old).  Greco died at 73 – he being in the 17th century.  Victor Moscosco is 76 years old now.

Who is Victor Moscoso?  well, you’re on the Famous Rock Posters web site – so you should have a clue.  He was best known for psychedelic rock posters/advertisements and underground comix in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s.  Also, Moscoso was one of the first rock concert poster artists of the 1960s era with formal academic training @ Cooper Union, NY – Yale – SF Art Institute and taught there as well.

Sidebar: Josef Albers (March 19, 1888 – March 25, 1976) was Moscoso’s instructor at Yale. He came from (most influential) The Bauhaus school of Germany. To escape the Nazi pressure he emigrated to the USA and landed @ the Black Mountain College, N.C. which is near my hometown. More on that in another post. He is best remembered as abstract painter and “Homage to the Square” series and as theorist.

Ok, back to Victor. I would say his first big break was designing posters for the concerts & new music scene in the dance halls and auditorium’s in SF. It culminated to international attention in the late 60’s. Next would be underground comics ,album covers, billboards and multi-media.  He went on to win two Clio awards in advertising and design.

Images of rare Victor Moscoso poster art are found easily on the net. But the actual posters you seek could be more difficult to find. If your interested here is a nice place to start with a small-medium-or big budget (super collectables)

The Victor Moscoso Collection

iconIf anything, view nice – clear- large images of these beautiful works and see for yourself why rare Victor Moscoso poster art is priceless and why I am such a huge fan of this magnificent artist!

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Rose Bowl Rock Poster

Well, the latest news on this Rose Bowl Rock Poster is the seller decided to take one auction it off on Ebay. it sold and made a pretty good return at $52.66 I believe. If you remember this particular seller bought 30 of these American Music Show Handbills at an estate sale recently. He had sent me some images and info (as much as he could) on the piece to see if I could could come up with an appraised value.

If you look at many of these Rose Bowl Rock Poster designs – whether it is full posters, handbills, or post cards (which were the printed pieces of choice to promote the concerts) you get a certain feel for the value. Handbills (unless very rare) are usually in the $50.00 range. This is a beautiful 8 X 4 mint condition card by artists VanHamersveld and Schnef and a very nice affordable collectors piece.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these you can keep an eye out on Ebay as they will possibly be showing up time to time. Or you may shoot us an email and I can put you in direct contact with the seller.

You know there are many stories that go along with that handbill and that particular 1968 American Music Show @ The Rose Bowl. One I’ll share now…Sam Andrew (Guirartist Big Brother & The Holding Co.) quotes:

“We hopped in a limousine after the gig, and the fans piled on top. I was afraid we would be crushed.”  
15 September 1968   Rose Bowl    Pasadena 

Rose Bowl Rock Poster

This was an interesting quote, because I just read in “The West of Center: Art and The Counter Culture Experiment in America, 1965-1977” that this  Rose Bowl concert was not well attended.  As a result Pinnacle (Three partners known as Pinacle Rock Conerts) failed financially and the Shrine Concerts ended.

Many of the Pinnacle Shows were at the Shrine Auditorium. Also, John Van Hamersveld (one of the artists on this piece) was in fact one of the founding partners in Pinnacle Rock Concerts.

This Rose Bowl Rock Poster was co-designed by Bob Schnepf and John Van Hamersfeld.


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Famous Rose Bowl Rock Poster

Just a follow up to the famous rose bowl rock poster that was sent to us for an appraisal.  It occurred to me that you may not have been able to appreciate this at the image size I had posted it earlier.  So, here it is in all its glory!

Well, i did receive some more information on this art work and the artists. The artists of this famous rose bowl rock poster are VanHamersveld and Schnef.   The year (1968) and that it’s in the Art of Rock Series #3.71 for those following closely – this ACTUALLY is a handbill / postcard not the full poster. The full poster looks to be in the neighbor hood of around $1,200.00 (mint condition)Famous Rose Bowl rock poster

Handbills are not as valuable as a rule of thumb. But, there is a Dave Clark Five at the Melodyland Theater handbill I saw recently that was worth $1,575.00.

Wow! thats a rare piece – you can see it here:

The Dave Clark Five Handbill

Many nice selection of handbills, postcards, posters and much rock and roll memorabilia to peruse there, as well.

Anyway, back to our American Music Show poster.  After further investigation these artists (it must have been a collaboration) John Van Hamersveld and Bob Schneph  both have a body of work in the psychedelic concert poster design category and no telling what else.

I will be doing even MORE R&D on these guys and this famous Rose Bowl rock poster…for I still do not have a value  I can come back to the seller with.  They own 30 of these from an estate sale and are willing to let them go – but for what price?  More to follow for sure on our “mysterious” new psychedelic artifact.  Garsh, I would really like to talk to some one who was at this famous rose bowl rock concert…it looks like a whopper.  If your old enough to recognize the acts on this bill  then YOU KNOW it  was around 1968 when it took place.

over & out, for now.

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Concert Poster Design

Concert poster design certainly did not originate in the 1960’s. But , I would say that between the years 1955-1971 were the golden years of famous rock concert posters. Early on (if your old enough to remember) posters for events such as wrestling, boxing and musical events were very mundane and predictable. They were usually just a 2 color printing job and plastered on telephone poles near stop lights. For the times, this type of  concert poster design was exciting and caught your eye. Very bold and you got the message quick.

However, if you compare the posters of music, sports, and other events of the time…they all had a similar formula.  Also, they were cheap to produce.  Therefore you could print in high quantity to get the message out.  Most of them had this same look and feel as the James Brown poster featured here.

I have a sentimental feeling for these type of posters (from a graphics artist /historical viewpoint).   But, when you realize the multitude of posters produced with the same elements it was over kill and kind of boring after a while.  These type of 2-3 color events posters were produced mainly in the 1950’s. Concert poster design would get turned on it’s ear during the next decade.  No more restrictions on color – no more stamped out clones of posters.  There will be a revolution of art and music coming in the 60’s.

The type of original music created (mainly to compete with the British Invasion, a la “The Beatles”) would bring a new creative and colorful posters to represent it.  Also, notable artists, cartoonists and graphics people were on board for this art explosion.  Speaking of which, i just had a nice hand bill sent to me for apprasial.

Wow, it is nice.  I cant say that ive ever seen this particular piece for  “An American Music Show At The Rose Bowl”  I can tell you it must have been some event in 1968 with the muscial line up that was presented.  Joan Baez, The Byrds, Big Brother & The Holding Co. – the list goes on and on.

This looks to be from an underground cartoonist to me. But, I cant place it.  Anyone have a clue? If you have any info on this postcard/handbill or this event send me something back on it.  I am currently doing some research on this concert poster design and would welcome some advice info or help.

Keep On Truckin’ !!



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