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Poster Collecting Terminology

Commonly (and not so commonly) used terms in poster collecting:

Ad Back Postcard Fillmore Poster Original Printing
Archival FD Paper Stock
Archival Storage 1st Printing Set Pirate Printing or Pirate
Artist's Proof (A/P) Flier Place Stamp Here Back
Avalon Giclee Postcard
Avalon Poster Grading Press Sheet
BG Grande Card Printers Proof
BGP Handbill Progressive Proof
Bindweed Hickey Proofsheet
Blank Back Postcard Image Set Pt.
Bootleg Image Ticket Point Size
Boxing Style Poster Ink Bleed Reprint
Bulk Rate Postcard Limited Edition Set
Card Set Litho Signed By The Artist
Coated Index Lithograph Signed In The Plate
Color Bar Mailer Silkscreen
Color Variant Matte Out Single
Color Wheel Micrometer Split Fountain
Crop Mark Monochromatic Ticket Set
Cut Double New Fillmore Ticket Outlet Strip
Double Numbered Edition Unauthorized Poster
Edition Numbered Poster Uncoated Index
F Numbered Series Uncut Double
Family Dog Off Register Vellum
Family Dog Poster Offset Venue
The Fillmore Original  
Fillmore Original Art  


Ad Back Postcard A postcard which has information or advertising (often of future shows) on the reverse rather than a standard postcard back.

Archival Paper, ink, framing or storage materials of a quality or standard suitable for long term storage of a poster, document or work of art. These materials are generally acid free, alkaline buffered or inert and are intended to preserve and protect documents or artwork. (e.g. Mylar-D sleeves, acid free mattes and backing boards, cotton rag papers, enameled metal cabinets,...) Unfortunately, there are no standards regulating the use of the term "archival" and many non-archival materials are misrepresented as being archival. Some of these materials can actually accelerate the degradation of items which are stored in them. (Note that wood pulp based papers are inherently unstable. With the passage of time, they naturally decompose and release acids which further accelerate their decay. Excessive handling also contributes to the degradation of paper. Anything that can be done to arrest these processes will prolong an item's life substantially.)

Archival Storage Storage in archival materials.

Artist's Proof (A/P) Posters or prints that are signed and marked A/P are sometimes produced in addition to a signed and numbered limited edition. These are normally assumed to have been created during the proofing of a print and should number no more than ten percent of the total edition. This ten percent rule has suffered much abuse in the hands of some poster artists who have printed large numbers of A/P's.

Avalon Sometimes used to identify an Avalon Poster (as in Avalon #98).

Avalon Poster Often used to describe a poster from the original Family Dog numbered series posters (1966-1968). Most of the concerts documented by this poster series were held at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, California. (see Family Dog)

BG Shorthand for a poster from the series printed for Bill Graham between 1966 and 1973 (as in BG#98). (see Fillmore Poster)

BGP Shorthand for a numbered poster from the ongoing Bill Graham Presents poster series (as in BGP #100).

Bindweed A poster printed by Bindweed Press. Bindweed Press printed many posters in 1966 and 1967 including most of the early Family Dog Productions Avalon Ballroom posters.

Blank Back Postcard A postcard which has no printing of any kind on the reverse.

Bootleg Any counterfeit or unauthorized printing of a previously existing work.

Boxing Style Poster A poster done in a style widely used in the 1940's and 50's which consists primarily of block lettering and photos.

Bulk Rate Postcard A postcard which has a bulk rate mailing permit printed on the reverse. (Bulk rate postcards can be found in both mailed and unmailed forms. If they were mailed by the promoter as an advertisement for an event, they are also referred to as mailers.)

Card Set A complete set of all the images that were produced in postcard sized format for a particular series.

Coated Index A type of paper stock with a very smooth reflective finish.

Color Bar A printers color reference strip printed in the margins of a four color process press sheet. It is intended to be trimed off when the poster is cut to size.

Color Variant One of the variations of a poster, postcard or handbill which exists in more than one color scheme due to the use of different colors of ink or paper.

Color Wheel A light source mounted behind a rotating disc which is divided into several different colored transparent sections. It sequentially casts different colors of light onto a surface. Renowned 60's poster artist Victor Moscoso discovered that he could create poster images which seemed to move or vibrate when illuminated by a color wheel (by taking advantage of their sequential nature).

Crop Mark A small line on the full sheet of paper on which a poster is printed which indicates where it is to be cut to size.

Cut Double A single-sized postcard which has been been obtained by cutting an uncut double in half.

Double A single image postcard that is the size of two standard sized postcards from the Bill Graham or Family Dog series. (also see Uncut Double)

Edition Sometimes used synonymously with "printing" as in the 1st edition of a poster or the 1st printing of a poster.

F Shorthand for a numbered poster from the ongoing (1988 -present) Fillmore poster series (as in F #250).

Family Dog The production company of a long running series of rock concerts primarily at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco but also at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, in Denver, and the Great Highway in San Francisco. This name also appears on events produced from the 1960's to the present including early posters from the Maritime Hall in San Francisco. The Family Dog began as a collective but is primarily associated with Chet Helms. (see Avalon)

Family Dog Poster A poster published by the Family Dog.

The Fillmore Used to refer to one or more of the following venues: the Fillmore Auditorium or the Fillmore West (as distinguished from the Fillmore East or the recently opened Fillmore Auditorium Denver).

Fillmore Sometimes used to identify a Fillmore Poster (as in Fillmore #98).

Fillmore Poster Often used to refer to a numbered poster in the first or second "Fillmore" poster series (1966-1973 and 1988-present, respectively) produced by and for Bill Graham or Bill Graham Presents.

FD Shorthand for a poster printed for the Family Dog (as in FD #26). (see Avalon Poster)

1st Printing Set A complete set of one of each of the posters or postcards from a numbered series all of which must be 1st printings. (See Image Set)

Flier An alternate term for "handbill". It is sometimes used to differentiate between 81/2" x 11" fliers and smaller handbills. "Flier" is also often used in association with advertising for New Wave or Punk handbills from the late 1970's through the 1980's.

Giclee A high-end digital printing process utilizing fade-resistant archival inks and usually reserved for fine art prints.

Grading Using a set of conventions (e.g. mint, near mint, fine, very good, etc.) to describe the condition of an item.

Grande Card A postcard produced by and for the promoter Russ Gibb to advertise events held at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit and other locations in the mid to late 1960's.

Handbill An advertisment (usually 8 1/2 by 11 inches or smaller) printed on paper which is designed to be handed out to potential customers. Among poster collectors, this term has traditionally been used to refer to blank-backed concert advertisements printed on thin paper (as opposed to the thicker stock on which postcards are normally printed). However, there are handbills which were printed on thick stock.

Hickey A printing press flaw that shows up on a print as a small blemish or spot. Generally caused by a small piece of foreign material on the printing plate .

Image Set A set of posters or a mixed set of postcards and handbills consisting of one of each of the produced images from a numbered series. The distinction between an image set and a set of 1st printings is most commonly used when referring to a series such as the Fillmore or Avalon series where there were several printings of many of the posters. In these same series, it would be necessary to combine postcards and handbills to create a small format image set since many images were only produced in one format or the other.

Image Ticket A ticket which bears a miniature image of the poster with which it is associated. Many multi-day events have a different color variant for each show date.

Ink Bleed This is a term which is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to ink which has transferred to the back of a poster from being in contact with the face of another poster while the ink was still wet. The correct term is "set off". (It is also commonly referred to by printers as "offset".) In plain English it might best be called "ink transfer".

Limited Edition A poster whose print run is limited to a specific disclosed number of copies. There are also signed and numbered limited editions in which each poster is hand-signed and consecutively hand numbered by the artist (1/100, 2/100,...).

Litho Loosely used in the Rock Poster world to describe posters that are printed by offset lithography.

Lithograph A lithograph is a print created by the direct contact of paper with an inked stone or other plane surface (as opposed to a print created by the indirect method of offset lithography). This process is used primarily for limited-edition art prints. (Rock posters and prints are not lithographs.)

Mailer A handbill or postcard that was sent through the mail by or for the promoter as an advertisement for an event. Types of mailers include singles, doubles and uncut doubles.

Matte Out Refers to the ability of a picture framing matte to cover flaws in a poster so as to be unnoticable when framed.

Micrometer A precision measuring instrument used to measure thickness of material down to 1/1000th of an inch. Sometimes used to measure poster paper thickness.

Monochromatic Description refering to an image printed using one color of ink on one shade of paper stock (as opposed to polychromatic or multicolored).

New Fillmore Sometimes used to identify a numbered poster in the second and ongoing Fillmore poster series (1988-present).

Numbered Edition A limited edition poster in which each individual poster is individually and consecutively numbered.

Numbered Poster A poster which is part of a numbered series.

Numbered Series A series of posters, postcards, or handbills usually from one venue, or one production company, in which each image bears or has been assigned a a number by the promoter or by accepted convention.

Off Register A print is off register when the various colors used to make up an image do not line up properly.

Offset A poster printed on an offset lithographic press, commonly referred to as a "printing press". This includes the vast majority of posters and is the same process which is used to print newspapers and magazines.

Original A poster which was printed for the original promoter and during the same era as the event which it promotes (as opposed to a later reprint or unauthorized printing).

Original Art The actual one of a kind artwork and/or mechanicals from which the printing plates which produced a poster were created. Original art sometimes consists of several original images that were combined to produce the finished poster.

Original Printing The first printing of a poster.

Paper Stock The type of paper on which something is printed. Paper is normally manufactured in very large sheets or rolls and later cut to size. The composition, texture and finish of a paper are cumulatively referred to as its stock.

Pirate Printing or Pirate Sometimes used to refer to an unauthorized or "bootleg" printing of a poster.

Place Stamp Here Back A postcard which bears the words "Place Stamp Here" on the reverse. (See Blank Back Postcard, Bulk Rate Postcard)

Postcard Technically, a postcard should have a postcard back. However, among poster collectors, this term has traditionally been used to refer to any postcard or handbill which is of postcard size and is printed on the weight of stock on which postcards are normally printed. (See Blank Back Postcard, Bulk Rate Postcard, Cut Double, Double, Place Stamp Here Back,Uncut Double)

Press Sheet See Proofsheet

Printers Proof A sample print pulled before a full press run usually to evaluate color and the desired esthetics of the print. Also used to refer to an untrimmed press sheet.

Progressive Proof A set of press sheets made up of several or all of the possible color combinations leading to a finished print.

Proofsheet The uncut sheet of paper from which a finished print or prints is cut. Many proofsheets contain a poster, several postcards and possibly tickets as well. Proofsheets can be complete or partial depending on whether the entire sheet is present or not.

Pt. An abreviation for "point" a printing term referring to the thickness of paper measured in 1/1,000ths of an inch.

Point Size The size of type, lines and spacing measured in 72nds of an inch.

Reprint Not an original or 1st printing but an authorized reprint of a previously printed artwork. (An unauthorized printing is called a "bootleg".)

Set Generally refers to a full set of posters, postcards, handbills or tickets from a defined venue or a complete sequence of posters from a numbered series. (See Card Set, 1st Printing Set, Image Set, Ticket Set)

Signed By The Artist An item that has been hand-signed by the artist who produced the art or graphics for a poster or handbill. This term does not refer to a printed artist's credit or to a printed facsimile signature that appears on a handbill or poster which is technically referred to as "signed in the plate".

Signed In The Plate A poster or print which includes a printed (not hand signed) artistÕs signature is referred to as "signed in the plate".

Silkscreen Commonly used to refer to a poster or print created by the silkscreen printing process.

Single A postcard that contains a single poster image.

Split Fountain A printing technique which is used to create subtle gradations of color or to simulate the printing of additional colors from a single printing plate or screen. The effect is achieved by applying different colors of ink to different areas of the printing surface.

Ticket Set This usually refers to a set of all the different color variants of an particular image ticket (as in a BG #105 ticket set). A set of all the different variants of all the image tickets in the original Bill Graham series would be refered to as a complete Bill Graham image ticket set. (See Image Ticket)

Ticket Outlet Strip The area on a poster, postcard or handbill which contains information about where to purchase tickets for the event which it advertises.

Unauthorized Poster A poster produced without the approval of either the promoter or the performers.

Uncoated Index A paper stock which has a very even surface but does not have a reflective coating.

Uncut Double A pair of posters or postcards which were printed side by side (or end to end) on a single sheet of paper and which have not been cut apart. Many of the postcards which were mailed to those on the mailing lists of Bill Graham and the Family Dog were mailed out as uncut doubles. Over the years some people have cut these double cards in half for various reasons. The resulting "single" cards should be referred to as "cut doubles".

Vellum Vellum is a heavy tracing paper-like stock. As the term is traditionaly used by poster collectors, it refers to paper with a vellum finish, an uncoated paper finish that is fairly even but with greater porousity and more tooth than a smooth finish.

Venue The place at which a concert or event is held. Famous venues include the Fillmore Auditorium and Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, the Fillmore East in New York City, the Grande Ballroom in Detroit and the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin, Texas.


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