Bill Graham’s numbered poster series began in 1966 with BG-1, which advertised Jefferson Airplane at The Fillmore Auditorium. While the sequential BG Series ends in June 1972 with BG-289—the famous Rolling Stones “Tumbling Dice” poster—the Series includes the 1973 BG-288 Nassau Coliseum poster featuring the Grateful Dead. The Bill Graham numbered series includes handbills and postcards. Poster artists Wes Wilson (BG-18), Bonnie MacLean, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Greg Irons, Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin (BG-105), Bob Fried, Victor Moscoso, Randy Tuten, and David Singer all created posters for the BG Series. BG Series poster collections have been on display nationally and internationally in museums, art galleries, and at poster art showcase events.
The early BG posters were printed on vellum paper and are very difficult to find in top condition today. Vellum is a soft, blotter-like paper that tore and stained easily. The printing quality also was sometimes very poor. For these reasons, most poster collectors are more forgiving of defects on early posters in the Bill Graham numbered poster series.
BG numbers from 0 to 45 are represented by three sizes of printings—posters, handbills, and postcards. After number 45, handbills were no longer printed; only posters and postcards were produced. However, sometimes the postcards with a calendar or “show back” are referred to as handbills. A dizzying array of different printings is available for many posters, including pre-show or original printings (first prints), authorized reprints (second and third prints), and in some cases, bootleg or counterfeit printings. At Classic Posters, we guarantee that every BG poster we sell is correctly attributed according to the current edition of The Collectors Guide to Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters, Postcards and Handbills 1965-1973 by Eric King.
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