Yes, programs and posters from these shows are pretty scarce items. Unless, the printer or some warehouse turns up a bunch of them, there couldn't be very many that were saved by exhibitors, vendors, and fans.
Those that have survived often bear the scars of having once been stapled to a telephone pole. Not to mention that the cheap cardboard they were printed on does not hold up very well to the rigors of aging. [Something in common with the rest of us, huh?]
The question of value is compounded by the fact that these colorful rhythm and blues revue posters have been discovered by the investor/collector's market. Just in the past year, I have noticed an increase in the ads in "Goldmine" and other collectors' publications. Consequently, prices are on the rise. Indeed, prices in excess of $5000 for nice ones from 1957 have been reported.
One of the best discussions of all this is found in the September 1997 issue of "Warman's Today's Collector," in an lengthy illustrated article by Dennis Hickey. The following comments are excerpted from that article:
Especially desirable are those featuring stars who helped lay the foundation for what was to follow--rock and roll.
For instance, a 1953 poster featuring Johnny Ace and Big Mama Thornton is particularly important, because it features the latter singing "Hound Dog"--the first recorded version ... that would later become a smash hit for Elvis Presley. Any collector would be happy to pay several hundred dollars for this rare and colorful poster.
[The image shown here is a "colorized" black and white graphic, which does not reflect the original poster colors.]
Dr. Hickey's article also includes a presentation of what he regards as the "10 posters every collector would want." Number Two among these is a minor variant of the one shown at the top of this page. There may be many variants, depending on which artists joined and left a tour as it proceeded across the country. The version shown in Dr. Hickey's article includes "Everly Bros." in the space that says "All In Person" on the image shown here.
Prices for posters from the 1960's typically range in the "hundreds" of dollars. According to Hickey's article: "Some of the more important rock-concert posters featured in this article could easily bring over a thousand dollars."
Go back to the Rhythm & Blues Revue page.