Rare Buddy Holly poster from ‘The Day the Music Died’ sells for record $447,000 at auction

The rarest and one-of-a-kind poster of Buddy Holly from ‘The Day the Music Died’, when a plane carrying Holly, Richie Valens and Big Popper (real name JP Richardson) crashed, killing all three, has been sold at auction for a record $447,000.

Holly, Valens, and Richardson had just played a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, and were headed to Moorehead, Minnesota, for the 12th stop on their ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour, when their single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed into a cornfield at during bad winter weather on February 3, 1959, killing all on board.

The tragedy, which killed some of the biggest names in rock and roll at the time, would later be immortalized as “The Day the Music Died,” in Don McLean’s 1971 hit “American Pie.”

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A rare Buddy Holly poster made history as the most expensive music poster ever sold at auction for $447,000.

Heritage Auctions


The poster is an original promotional card commemorating the show that never happened and one of the first tragedies in rock and roll history. It was originally attached to a telephone pole, but had fallen to the ground a day or two after the show and was picked up by a conservator who took it home and placed it in a closet where it had been forgotten about for about 50 years. , Howard said in an online interview.

The poster has no pin or nail holes, missing parts, or fading, but does show a white stain on both sides from the tacky substance used to hang it, which was left intact on the poster as a minor but important story detail. according to the website.

Heritage Auctions reported that the winning bid for the poster sold for $447,000 — breaking the previous record for a rock poster, which was $275,000 for a print from the Beatles’ 1966 show at Shea Stadium.

“Heritage is thrilled to break the previous record for a concert poster by more than $170,000,” said Pete Howard, director of concert posters at Heritage Auctions, “but not at all surprised given the importance, uniqueness and gravity of this . amazing display card, advertising rock and roll’s first tragedy.”

The auctioneer had only one other poster from the Winter Dance Party tour — for a show in Mankato, Minnesota — sell for $125,000 in April 2020.

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