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    FD-26 Grateful Dead 1966 "Skeleton & Roses" Concert Poster w/Blue Color Only. A second-printing San Francisco concert poster for the Grateful Dead and Oxford Circle at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday, September 16-17, 1966. This very special specimen of FD-26 in the Family Dog numbered series comes from the personal archives of Bob Cohen, the man who co-owned the Family Dog and ran it with Chet Helms from early 1966 until the firm's demise in late 1968. Known alternatively as "Skeleton & Roses" or "Skull & Roses," it was designed by the legendary team of Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley.

    This is the only FD-26 anomaly that Mr. Cohen has, and it's striking to see this famous image with only three of its four colors present... blue, white and black. The absence of red in this specimen gives the onlooker a whole new perspective on the famous artwork that Mouse and Kelley based their masterwork on.

    The story behind this iconic image is well-known in the psych poster world. But to the uninitiated, the pair would often search the shelves of the San Francisco Public Library to get images & ideas they could then build their posters around, with seemingly nothing off-limits. Earlier that year, they had famously appropriated the image from Zig-Zag wrapping papers to create a popular Family Dog concert poster for Big Brother & the Holding Company. What could they come up with next?

    They struck gold by discovering a small black & white drawing by British book illustrator E.J. Sullivan. His book The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, first published in 1913, contained several images of skeletons. This particular one, of a skeleton picking roses and assembling a wreath of the flowers as well as wearing another as a headdress, really jumped off the page at them. How could it not? What a perfect image for a band called the Grateful Dead!

    And in this unique specimen, with the veil of red color taken away, you really get a good luck at Sullivan's original artwork, which continues to represent the Grateful Dead camp, including Bob Weir's annual Dead & Co. tours, to this very day.

    Measures 14 ¼" x a little under 20" and grades to a strong Very Good Plus condition. Only the poster's verso takes this down from Near Mint Minus. COAs from Bob Cohen and from Heritage Auctions.

    To view Bob Cohen's biography, "A Patriarch of the San Francisco Scene," please click here.

    More Information: In beautiful shape, with the one issue (besides the verso) being a light four-inch diagonal crease in the upper right corner area that doesn't break any blue or black color. There's also a crease or two in the left white margin by the "G" in "Grateful." In our never-ending search for little surface creases, we also found a one-inch one starting at the "M" in "Ballroom" and going right. Again, no color breakage.

    The front has a standard amount of toning. There are two very, very subtle light ‘oil stains' or whatever that bleed through from the back; one on the top stem of the Family Dog logo on the left, and the other right in the middle of the blue area under "16." We only noticed these after we started closely examining the verso, which has the two little stains much more visible. And finally, on the verso, there are four blocks of visual tape residue which are not sticky at all, just a tiny bit rough to the touch.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    8th-9th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 35
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,812

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