Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley
Skeleton & Roses, 1966
First printing, lithograph, Condition: Very Fine Plus
Signed by Mouse (on video)
Framed: 28 1/2" tall x 22 3/4" wide
Close-up of Mouse signature
Close-up of frame
Close-up of frame
Close-up of frame at angle
Unframed picture of poster
Here it is, undoubtedly the most famous poster from the Family Dog series, as well as the most recognized image ever used by the Grateful Dead. The central image is a drawing done by Edward Joseph Sullivan, a late 19th and early 20th century artist. Sullivan created this drawing to illustrate one of the quatrains of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Mouse and Kelley added the color, as the original drawing was in black and white. The resulting poster has lived on through time and has increased in value at a dramatic pace.
Since most of these posters were hung on walls at the time of the concerts, many exhibit severe damage and fading. This first printing is in “Very Fine Plus” condition with two small tack holes in each corner and a touch of faint handling. Many originals show some degree of over-inking, usually in blue at the bottom of the piece - in this case the over-inking is red, with much of it matted out for your viewing pleasure.
A Near Mint version of this poster that was unsigned sold at auction for $50,600 in August 2018, while a version with some restoration and a Mouse and Kelley signature sold for $37,500 a month earlier. In mid-2019 one sold for $56,000, and the high-water mark was reached with a copy in top condition going for $118,750 at the end of 2019. Most recently, in August 2020, a yellowed FD-26 graded as “Very Good,” sold for $38,750 at a Heritage Auction.
This iconic piece represents the holy grail of mainstream psychedelic rock posters. This particular poster was signed by Stanley Mouse in California and comes with a three-part video of Mouse selecting the pen, deciding on the spot and then signing this very poster for you.