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Rarest Known Buddy Holly Poster, From ‘the Day the Music Died,’ Sells for Nearly $450,000

Variety logo Variety 11/11/2022 Jem Aswad

The only known poster from “The Day the Music Died,” the concert that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were traveling to when their plane crashed on Feb. 3, 1959, has sold for a record-setting $447,000 at Heritage Auctions.

The poster’s final price shattered the house’s previous record price of $275,000, previously held by a Beatles 1966 Shea Stadium concert poster, which sold at Heritage on April 18.

While rather morbid, the poster’s value and rarity are beyond question: Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) died when their plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, on their way to a show in Moorhead, Minn. The concert was to take place as part of the “Winter Dance Party” tour at the Moorhead Armory; the crash, of course, has been immortalized as “The Day the Music Died” in Don McLean’s 1971 hit “American Pie.”

“Heritage is thrilled to break the previous record for a concert poster by more than $170,000,” said Heritage Auctions’ Pete Howard, “but not the least bit surprised, given the importance, the uniqueness and the gravitas of this amazing window card, which advertised rock and roll’s first tragedy.”

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The poster that sold Friday may be the only one from the show still in existence. It originally had been affixed to a telephone pole but fell to the ground; there are no pinholes, only the residue of the sticky material used to keep it in place. It was discovered by a maintenance man, who placed it in a closet, face down, and forgot about it for 50 years.A post for a concert earlier in the “Winter Dance Party” tour was sold by Heritage in April 2020 for $125,000.The auction continues through Sunday at

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