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By Scott Tilson and Glen Trosch

Over the years we have watched literally thousands of collectors build countless collections, with varying degrees of success.While each individual has their own personal budget, interests and taste, we can unequivocally state that every single successful collector we have known has followed most, if not all of the following rules of successful collecting. We highly advise that you become familiar with these rules and incorporate them fully into your own collecting activities.

  1. Buy quality. Quality is remembered and appreciated long after price is forgotten.
It’s critical to understand that sophisticated collectors always want the very best and remain ready, willing and able to quickly act when opportunity presents itself. These collectors understand that the opportunity to acquire a rarity is often rarer than the collectible itself! For these savvy folks, price is secondary, quality comes first.
Successful collectors understand that museum quality will always be highly sought after and become increasingly desirable while run-of-the- mill quality will never rise above boring and un-exciting.
Successful collectors understand that years from now it will be an insignificant fact that they “stretched” an extra 20 - 30% to add something special to their collection. Successful collectors aspire to locate rarities today that will be impossible to locate at virtually any price tomorrow. In fact, if you’re not prepared to “stretch” for the very best, you won’t be the person who ends up with a world class collection. The spoils will simply go to someone else.
  2. Buy for the long term…with the idea of holding forever.
Rare collectibles are just that…really rare and all but impossible to find. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to track down the really top tier material. Unlike stocks and bonds, many rarities in your collection could very well be irreplaceable at any price tomorrow. When you buy the best it just keeps getting better. So think long term, every successful collector we have ever heard about or worked with has embraced this strategy.
  3. Patience is critical. Wait for the right material to surface.
This one’s going to be tough for you to follow because it involves fighting human nature. The exact posters we recommend are really hard to find and our client’s demand far exceeds what small supply we are able to locate.
Try to resist the temptation to rush out and acquire items that are inferior in quality and desirability. It’s easy to place funds in second tier material because these items are always readily available…. by the boatload! Simply don’t do it, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot.
  4. Buy the book before you buy the poster. Decades of experience and thousands of collectors have proven this to be an incontrovertible law for success. In fact, we have yet to meet even a single collector who has successfully neglected this rule. … and this applies to any collectible — not just Psychedelic Art!! The bottom line is that the more educated you are, the more successful you will be – no exceptions!
  5. Originality is King. Avoid restoration at all costs. The reason that Mint Condition 1960’s Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters are so highly coveted is because so few have survived in undamaged, Mint Condition. These highly sought after rarities are authentic historical documents of the most important social movement of the 20th century.
The minute you hold a restored poster in your hand, you are holding something that is no longer original and authentic. By it’s inherent nature, it is now a modern day creation. Filled-in pin holes? Added corners? Repaired tears? You are now holding a poster that has had substance added to it that was not there at the time of it’s original manufacture.
You will encounter many collectors and dealers that may wish to argue this point, but that is simply because they are either mis-informed, or already have lots of undesirable restored items they’d like to sell you - or both! In every major collectible category Originality Is King and the field of Psychedelic Art is no different.

6. Find a dealer you trust. Who you choose to do business with is exceedingly important and will be the single most important decision you make. Find someone you trust that you feel comfortable with.
Find a dealer that is interested in educating you….not just selling you stuff. Make sure your dealer is an accurate grader and has access to top tier material. Find a dealer that stands behind their material before, during and after the sale.
In return, show loyalty to your dealer and do your part to build a strong relationship. Savvy collectors know that the most loyal customers are the ones that get called first when the most coveted material surfaces. Do everything you can to be that person.


PAE was founded by Scott Tilson and Glen Trosch, who have over 70 years of combined experience in the rare collectibles markets.