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home | Acid Test Chronicles | The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 4 (H . . .
 

Owsley's Colored in Blue Acid Test poster. Sold on E-Bay in 2008 for $42,000
Owsley's Colored in Blue Acid Test poster. Sold on E-Bay in 2008 for $42,000

The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 4 (History of the controversy surrounding the Paul Foster poster / Formerly known as the Norman Hartweg poster)

   For as long as I can remember, controversy has surrounded this image and poster. The famous poster that reads, "Can You Pass the Acid Test?" is one of the most well known and distinguishable posters in Rock and Roll collecting and amongst deadheads everywhere. But, in contrast, the details of the poster itself are among the least known in the whole world of Rock and Roll collectables.
   Phil Cushway, of Artrock, has for years insisted that white posters came first. The reason I believed Phil thought this is because he didn't know when the first ones were done, and assumed the goldenrods may have been for Muir Beach, but a white one was done beforehand for Big Nigs or something. That is a misconception that can now be put to rest, at last.
   The very first use of the Paul Foster (formerly known as Norman Hartweg) poster was for Muir Beach on Dec. 11, 1965. One can only guess what happened, because none of the goldenrods that were used, survived except for the one used and owned originally by Ken Kesey, with the famous writing of "Muir Beach" in the box. Only one goldenrod original is known to exist that was used for any actual event. But several dozen survived.
   The next use of the poster was for Palo Alto, at the Big Beat on Dec. 18. Recently, a white one turned up with Big Beat in the box, so we have reason to believe this is the earliest use of the white poster. The reason so many goldenrods remain, but they paid for more posters to be made (white ones) is something we don't currently understand. It is possible that white ones were made at the same time as goldenrods, but not used until the next week. 
   We could speculate that goldenrods or white ones were used for Stinson Beach, before they decided to move it at the last minute, but we have not found any evidence that these Paul Foster posters were ever "put up" anywhere other than the event themselves. The Pranksters could not afford that much advertising for these new public "happenings". Only handbills were known to be passed out, which recorded Stinson Beach, so it's likely no posters were ever made, until the Muir Beach event took place. If any were made, none have survived or shown up anywhere, yet.
      The last known use of the Paul Foster poster was at the Fillmore Acid Test on Jan. 8, 1966. Both white ones and blue ones are known to exist, but no goldenrods. It appears as though the goldenrods were either stashed away or lost temporarily. According to Mountain Girl, a dozen or so were made and hand-painted and given away as gifts. However, she does not remember what color was used for these. Mountain Girl also maintains that no Paul Foster posters were ever used after the Fillmore. They were finished with that design and moved on. The Pranksters afterall, were artists on the spot and all the time, and "nothing lasts", not even a great poster design.
   The logical conclusion is that Goldenrods came first, for Muir Beach, then White one at Palo Alto, then white and blue ones at the Fillmore Acid Test. However, Dennis King of D. King Gallery suggests they were all made at the same time, some stashed away, and some used for the rest of the tests. I think Dennis is correct.
   The Goldenrods have turned up in various places including a large stash found in Jill, Phil's wife's basement. The cat was sleeping on them apparently. Approx. 4 were salvaged in pretty good shape. Jill may have kept a few for herself, but from what I understand, over a dozen or so, maybe as many as 25-50 were destroyed by cat claws and thrown out in the garbage.
   This is what makes these posters so rare. Things like this happen. .....meow....."I'm an cute little innocent kitty, i'm gonna make a bedding on my owners $125,000 dollar poster stash".

And they are lost for all eternity.

"Bad Kitty!"


This poster showed up on E-Bay around 2002, the very first time I ever searched E-Bay for "acid test poster". I put in my bid at the last second, only to have the item withdrawn under suspicious circumstances. It later turned up in another collection. Originally, the ad claimed the poster was for Big Nigs, but that is impossible, since the poster had yet to be designed.
   This poster showed up on E-Bay around 2002, the very first time I ever searched E-Bay for "acid test poster". I put in my bid at the last second, only to have the item withdrawn under suspicious circumstances. It later turned up in another collection. Originally, the ad claimed the poster was for Big Nigs, but that is impossible, since the poster had yet to be designed.
Glen Howard's Acid Test Poster, removed from the Wall of the Big Beat, but NOT at the Beat Big Test. I personally spoke with Glen about this, and he admitted to me that the poster came off the wall but not at the test itself. It was removed later on, and may not have been put up at the test. This poster was likely left withe owner as a souvenier, since many goldenrods were leftover from Muir Beach and unused. None are known to have locations in the box except the original Muir Beach poster that was used.
   Glen Howard's Acid Test Poster, removed from the Wall of the Big Beat, but NOT at the Beat Big Test. I personally spoke with Glen about this, and he admitted to me that the poster came off the wall but not at the test itself. It was removed later on, and may not have been put up at the test. This poster was likely left withe owner as a souvenier, since many goldenrods were leftover from Muir Beach and unused. None are known to have locations in the box except the original Muir Beach poster that was used.
A standard goldenrod poster. There are at least a couple dozen of these known to exist. There was a stash grabbed up a couple years ago, which had a dozen or so, more. All in Excellent condition. This goldenrod used to be considered highly desirable to own, however, with far fewer white ones and blue ones known to exist among collectors, the goldenrods have lost much of their attraction to the hardcore acid test collector.
   A standard goldenrod poster. There are at least a couple dozen of these known to exist. There was a stash grabbed up a couple years ago, which had a dozen or so, more. All in Excellent condition. This goldenrod used to be considered highly desirable to own, however, with far fewer white ones and blue ones known to exist among collectors, the goldenrods have lost much of their attraction to the hardcore acid test collector.
One of two different posters passed down from Pig Pen to his brother, then to a close friend, Ron. It appeared it was sold at Bonhams but I have heard the deal fell through. Only 6 Blue acid Test posters have survived, with approx. 3 Cut, and 3 Uncut.
   One of two different posters passed down from Pig Pen to his brother, then to a close friend, Ron. It appeared it was sold at Bonhams but I have heard the deal fell through. Only 6 Blue acid Test posters have survived, with approx. 3 Cut, and 3 Uncut.
This poster, when it was originally being offered in the Jerry Garcia auction, also claimed to have been from Big Nigs, or the "First Acid Test", which Big Nigs was not, btw. Again, the design did not exist yet, until Muir Beach, and white ones are not known to exist until Palo Alto, one week later, on the 18th. This poster likely hung on the door of the Palo Alto Big Beat test, or the Fillmore test.
"Here" is written in the Box, and three letters are colored in. The "D" in Acid Test, and the "T" and "E" in Test, which are not easy to see in this terrible pic.
   This poster, when it was originally being offered in the Jerry Garcia auction, also claimed to have been from Big Nigs, or the "First Acid Test", which Big Nigs was not, btw. Again, the design did not exist yet, until Muir Beach, and white ones are not known to exist until Palo Alto, one week later, on the 18th. This poster likely hung on the door of the Palo Alto Big Beat test, or the Fillmore test. "Here" is written in the Box, and three letters are colored in. The "D" in Acid Test, and the "T" and "E" in Test, which are not easy to see in this terrible pic.
This Blue (Slightly Faded), but intact, FULLSHEET poster is one of only 3 known fullsheets that exist. A very unique item. Inquiries welcome.
   This Blue (Slightly Faded), but intact, FULLSHEET poster is one of only 3 known fullsheets that exist. A very unique item. Inquiries welcome.