Rolling Stones posters are prized by fans: the best posters look as attractive now as they did when they were first printed.
You can pick them up for a song. And, after framing, a good Rolling Stones poster will grace the home of any fan, however grand or humble. If you attended a gig, the poster will always have extra resonance for you.
My favourite Rolling Stones poster has always been the achingly beautiful, Art Deco-inspired artwork for the American Tour 1981. You can see it on the Stones Archive website, where it’s now employed as the album cover of the “official bootleg” mp3 release of the Hampton Coliseum gig, and also on the new 2CD/DVD box of the same show.
Rolling Stones posters promoting the UK Tour 1971 (vintage sports car), and A Bigger Bang 2005-07 (Stones lips logo exploding) also figure amongst my favourites. These, and several more, are design classics.
Not all Rolling Stones posters were created equal, though. The music from the Brussels 1973 gig might be incandescent, but the cover art for the “official bootleg” mp3 release, based on the European tour 1973 poster, is, to my eyes, little more than adolescent smut.
Rolling Stones posters from 14 On Fire
The recently completed 14 On Fire tour continued the tradition of outstanding Rolling Stones posters, with some delightfully distinctive artwork promoting the individual shows.
Every Stones collector will have a favourite poster from 14 On Fire. Those which caught my eye were the posters promoting the shows in Paris, Sydney (Bennelong Point ie site of Sydney Opera House), Pinkpop (Netherlands), Perth (black swan) and Roskilde.
Posters such as these immortalise a unique grand event by visually linking the location with the band’s appearance there. Essential for a promo vehicle, they make an immediate impact. And the design and execution of the artwork ensure that owners will enjoy living with the posters for many years.
Rolling Stones posters, individual 2014 shows and box sets
If you missed buying the 2014 On Fire posters at the gigs, some slightly smaller limited editions – Tour Lithos – are scheduled for publication soon, at £40 each from the official Rolling Stones website. I’d guess they’ll be snapped up quickly.
Although they’re being sold as “limited editions”, there’s no indication on the site of the size of the edition. Without knowing the edition size, you’d buy them for pleasure, not as “investments”.
Better-heeled collectors of Rolling Stones posters might be more interested in the De Luxe European box set (21 shows) at £630, the De Luxe Asian box set (7 shows) at £220, or the Bundle of both sets at £850. Again, there’s no indication of the size of the limited edition, though the sets are individually numbered.
Posters for the Australia/NZ shows are only available as individual Tour Lithos.
Rock show posters: worth buying?
In general, posters for rock shows can be a worthwhile, if low value, investment, though they are best seen as nice-to-have collectables. Original posters for shows by big-ticket acts like the Rolling Stones are occasionally sold for four figure sums – but they need to be in mint condition, and to advertise shows held long ago.
You have to be careful with tour posters, though – the market is swamped by cheap reproductions, only some of which are officially sanctioned. And fakes abound; some of them look authentic.
If I were a more committed Rolling Stones rock art buyer, I’d seriously consider buying the 2014 De Luxe Bundle, alongside artworks like Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol limited edition Mick Jagger portraits and The Rolling Stones, the new Taschen limited edition book.
The new Rolling Stones posters for 14 On Fire demonstrate once again that the Stones are the unrivalled masters at monetising talent.
The new releases continue the win-win tradition of pleasing fans and collectors while enriching the enterprise: the Rolling Stones posters for 14 On Fire will appeal to many budget collectors and not a few well-heeled investors.