Bruce Springsteen, Charlie’s Angels, and the Boston Celtics.
Those were the posters that covered the walls of my room when I was a teenager.
The crown jewel of the house, however, was in the kitchen — an original poster from the 1969 Woodstock music festival.
My Mom hadn’t made it to Woodstock in person. But in the mid-1970s, her boyfriend at the time gave her the framed poster as a birthday present. She hung it in the kitchen with pride.
She was a peace-loving hippie and musician. To her, it represented art, music, and an important cultural movement for America.
But as it turns out, her Woodstock poster also represents something else: an example of an emerging “asset class,” just like stocks or bonds. Even more surprising, despite the financial markets crashing all around us, prices of this asset class have recently doubled.
So, should you pull some money out of stocks to invest in vintage concert posters?
Let’s take a look.
How the Rich Plan to Stay Rich
In my essay last week, I wrote to you about how the rich invest…
As I explained, the rich invest differently.
Instead of sticking with stocks and bonds, they invest in “alternatives” like private startups and private real estate deals, as well collectibles including baseball cards, sports cars, and wine.
But these collectibles also include vintage concert posters.
Let me show you why…
As you can see in this chart (courtesy of Alts.co), over the past few years, the average sales prices for the world's most valuable concert posters have nearly doubled.
Generally speaking, concert posters are simply meant to promote upcoming shows. But around the year 2000, perhaps because of nostalgia for the “good old days,” posters from the 60s and 70s started growing in popularity.
And now they’re starting to explode in value.
What Makes a Concert Poster Valuable?
Many factors can determine the value of poster. For example:
Historical Significance — Sure, Woodstock was a defining moment for America. But it was also a big deal when Ozzy Osbourne bit off the head of a bat. (Evidently, Ozzy thought the bat was fake; it wasn’t.) Accordingly, some of Ozzy’s posters are very valuable.
Scarcity — Here’s a good rule-of-thumb: if you can easily find ten or more of the same poster for sale at any given time, it’s probably not valuable.
Condition — It’s hard to find old concert posters that are still in good condition. Most were never sold; fans simply tore them off buildings or brick walls.
But when you do find an historically significant poster that’s scarce and in good condition, its value can be very high, indeed.
For example, at the moment, the record for most expensive concert poster is from The Beatles:
Promoting a New York gig on August 23, 1966, it sold for $150,000 in 2021. Then, just a few months later, it sold for $275,000.
Why so much? For one reason, The Beatles split up just one week afterwards!
Which Posters To Buy Today
Interesting in dipping your toes into the concert-poster waters?
Some experts recommend buying Nirvana posters. They believe their posters will become “classics” by the 2040s, at which point Nirvana will be a half-century old.
Nirvana’s 1994 posters from a tour in Germany are of particular interest. For each city in Germany the band toured in, they created a slightly different poster. Here’s an example:
You can buy them today for about $400 at ClassicPosters.com.
Another good place to look is on Rally Rd, which I described more fully in my essay last week. For example, later this year, Rally Rd is selling shares in a vintage Grateful Dead concert poster.
A Small Allocation to “Alternatives”
Keep in mind, all the typical caveats about investing apply here:
For example, since posters can’t be converted into cash at the snap of your fingers, don’t invest your rent money here.
Furthermore, such investments should make up just a small percentage of your portfolio. So, to answer my question from earlier: don’t sell all your stocks to invest in concert posters.
That being said, Wayne and I believe everyone, not just the rich, should invest in alternatives including startups, private real estate deals, and collectibles.
And if you’re looking to invest in beautiful art that offers protection against stock-market volatility, concert posters might be a great place to start.