Psychedelic art goes from groovy to grand
April 7, 2009
Park Meadows resident Scott Tilson believes he knows the secret to wealth and right now it’s psychedelic music posters.
Tilson has built a successful long-term career trading collectible coins and postage stamps. He’s also a huge admirer of Warren Buffet and has studied the man’s strategies in depth.
For the past five years, Tilson has decided to focus his eye for appreciating collectibles and his love for good business sense on the psychedelic art market.
A few weeks ago Tilson and his partner Glen Trosch launched the Psychedelic Art Exchange located on the web at http://www.PsychedelicArt.com.
Trosch has been a collector of 1960s pop and counter-cultural memorabilia his entire life and introduced Tilson to the market.
"They’re always visually stunning and always appealing," Trosch said.
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A few trends and events convinced Tilson to become a serious broker.
With a volatile stock market, more people are investing their money in tangible commodities. Just as some people buy gold, others buy collectibles, he said.
Top museums around the country have begun to recognize 1960s concert posters as great works of art and have been exhibiting them in high-profile shows including one in Denver now, he said.
Lastly, appreciation for the historical significance of the 1960s and the counter-cultural movements that took place are increasing.
"The ideals of the 60s are coming home to roost," he said.
The culmination of the "I Have a Dream" speech in the election of President Barack Obama, the echoes of the Vietnam War protest in the current strife over Iraq and the influence of drug experimentation on the current debates over legalizing marijuana are all examples, he said.
Concert posters are iconic representations of the ideals of the decade, Trosch said.
"They’re aesthetic, they’re artistic; they don’t have to say a word, they speak for themselves," he said. "They’re affordable, high-end art."
Those are all reasons to own them, but the fragility of the posters are great reasons to invest in them, Tilson said.
For an item to hold value, it must be rare and in-demand. Baby boomers and others fascinated with the counter-culture provide the demand, the paper provides the rarity.
The art movement began in the mid-1960s and the music scene had changed enough by 1970 to be considered a different era. The posters made during that scant five-year window were intended to be cheap and disposable, Trosch said.
To find these posters in good condition 40 years later is a "miracle" in every instance, Tilson explained.
The message of the art is what makes them beautiful.
"They said something strange was going to happen. You were going to meet unusual people at the show, hear music you hadn’t heard before, experience things you hadn’t experienced before," Tilson explained.
Although posters are still affordable to collect, Tilson and Trosch said they’re able to pay top dollar to sellers because they have more buyers lined up than suppliers.
"Nobody has the material we have or the guarantees we have. We’re the gold standard in psychedelic concert posters," Trosch said.
Doug Winter, a coin collector in Portland, Ore., said Tilson introduced him to posters.
"In the coin market, museum quality coins are very expensive. These psychedelic posters seem like good deals to me," he said. "A lot of them I have framed in my office. I love the designs and think they look great."
The Psychedelic Art Exchange
Scott Tilson and Glen Trosch