Led Zeppelin. Jimi Hendrix. The Beach Boys. Ray Charles. Little Richard. If you’ve heard of these music legends (and who hasn’t?), you may want to take a look at Scott Hathorn’s collection of original concert posters. Hathorn has a veritable museum of the ultra-rare collectibles on the walls of his business, Chico Coin & Jewelry. Head to his shop at 1414 Park Ave, Suite 108, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to check them out.
Which posters are your favorites?
One is the earliest known Beach Boys poster ever. It’s from their 1963 Sacramento concert before they released their first album. It’s the only poster ever to picture the Wilson brothers’ neighbor and guitarist, David Marks. The only other copy known to exist is owned by The Beach Boys themselves! I paid about $2,000 for it in the mid-’90s. Another is the only known poster from Ray Charles’ 1962 tour. It lists his two top-10 hits, “Hit the Road Jack” and “Unchain My Heart.” A third is the large, psychedelic Jimi Hendrix 1968 Toronto tour poster. Hendrix is at the top of my all-time great guitarists list.
How long have you been collecting these?
I started when I was 24 during the summer I moved to Chico from Washington, D.C., 25 years ago. They’re mostly from collectibles fairs and live auctions. My first was the Jefferson Airplane’s 1966 concert at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom. I collect the large, “boxing-style” concert posters which were hung outdoors in the ’50s and ’60s. Hardly any survived. They were brightly colored to attract attention from several blocks away and made of thick cardboard to withstand hard weather for weeks. You couldn’t collect what I have now because they are too hard to find, even on eBay.
Why do you like collecting them?
I’m a music historian. One glance and it transports you to the era it’s from as well as the songs that were hits they made then. I always play music from those eras here. People have nicknamed my store the “rock ’n’ roll coin shop!”
Do you sell your posters?
No. People often ask for prices, but I love them more than the thought of turning them into cash. If I’m looking for a real rare one I might trade.
Did you collect any of them from the actual shows?
Just two, and they are my two favorite shows of all the 500 concerts I’ve seen. The first is the Cream reunion from 2005. After 38 years off, they played three nights in New York City. The second is the Led Zeppelin London reunion of 2007.