Vintage Poster Sale

From Civil Rights to Elton John, there really is something here for everyone...


On Thursday 15th September approximately 250 posters contained within 151 lots, will be going under the hammer in our specialist single-owner vintage poster sale.


The collection

The collection was gifted to the vendor’s family by the owner of Lead Pipe Posters, a San Francisco mail order business that operated during the 1980s, as a token of gratitude for their assistance in importing, consigning, and selling a number of posters at Bonhams in the early 1990s. They have been carefully rolled and stored away for many years, and only now are they making their way towards the gavel.


An original 1977 Star Wars poster, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Twentieth Century Fox

Estimate £60-£80


A sign of the times

Given the origin of the posters and the time they were created, they are a visual reflection of an extraordinary era of change and reform.  

Being San Francisco based, Lead Pipe Posters were at the epicentre of the late 1960s American psychedelic and popular culture boom, which saw music, political activism and counter-cultural movements grow. The hippy culture, coupled with increased use of LSD, inspired the psychedelic poster design, used primarily to promote bands and events.


An original 1967 San Francisco Psychedelic concert poster, designed by John Lichtenwalner, for Moby Grape, Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) and Sons of Champlin

Estimate £150-£250

Design influences

The posters bear an intriguing similarity to the European Art Nouveau (or secessionist) movement. Their designs especially echo those of Alphonse Mucha, featuring stylised, beautiful women and flowing, organic foliage, alongside other familiar typefaces of the Art Nouveau period. Other artists, such as Aubrey Beardsley, are also noticeably influential in the designs.

The posters were created in San Francisco and the wider California area, to mirror the birthplace of the bands and cultural figures that shaped the ‘flower power’ movement. The ‘blacklight’ examples of the genre feature prominently, designed by artists in the late 1960s such as Nick Nickolds, Rick Griffin, Wilfried Satty, John Hamilton and William Weege.

stylised woman

 An original 1967 San Francisco Psychadelic concert poster for Moby Grape, Jack the Ripper and Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin)

Estimate £150-£250


The overall theory behind the posters’ designs was that the bright colours would glow and vibrate under UV light, mimicking the ‘buzz’ of being under the influence of hallucinogenics.


Cultural influences

Representative of the period’s social and political turbulence, the collection includes many political posters that reflect the tensions of the time. An anti-establishment theme runs throughout, with protests against the Vietnam War and President Nixon being particularly prominent.

Whilst often satirical, powerful demonstrations of anger can be seen regarding the needless deaths of American servicemen, as well as towards the suspected corruption of Nixon.


An original 1970 black light 'Peace Prayer' poster, (anti-Vietnam War), printed by East Totem West

Estimate £100-£150


In line with the ground-breaking Civil Rights activism going on at the time, the collection also features Black Power posters, along with counterculture, film, music, and television examples.

With everything from Easy Rider, through to Star Wars, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, Elton John and others, we are sure there is something for everyone!


The Young Rascals, 'Grooving on a Sunday Afternoon', a 1960s psychedelic poster designed by Eugene Hawkins

Estimate £50-£80


To see the full catalogue, please click here.

Viewings are available in person at our Maidenhead saleroom:

Monday 12th September - Wednesday 14th September (10am - 5pm)


If you are keen to discuss any of the items in more detail or would like to receive condition reports from us, please don't hesitate to contact us now.

Our team of specialists would be delighted to hear from you. / 0207 431 9445