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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pink Floyd UFO Poster - Hapshash and the Coloured Coat

Pink Floyd UFO
Pink Floyd UFO
Here's an original (first print) silkscreen poster (the layered inking around the little paisleys is obvious) that was printed in 1967 by Osiris Visions (OA114). It was designed by Hapshash & The Coloured Coat (Nigel Waymouth & Michael English), and was used to promote a July 28, 1967 Pink Floyd show at the UFO Club in London (where Pink Floyd was more or less the house band in the Syd Barrett days). This is an ORIGINAL and very rare 1967 Osiris poster designed by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat for the great Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) at the UFO Club in London. Original first printings of this heavily bootlegged poster are extremely rare (more info below) and of course the fact that it's a concert poster for Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd make this one of the most collectible posters by Hapshash in the Osiris series (the highly acclaimed and collectible psychedelic posters made in London in 1967/68, printed and distributed by the Osiris Agency. )

Commissioned by International Times to design posters for their underground UFO club on London’s Tottenham Court Road, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth were true creative originals, on a par with San Francisco’s famous Family Dog collective. Pink Floyd’s UFO performances before a sympathetic audience helped cement an increasing popularity. A week later, their first album ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ was released.

Here's a (very) partial Set List from that Pink Floyd UFO show:

  • Reaction In G
  • Pow R. Toc H
This poster measures approximately 19 5/8" x 29 3/4", and is in good condition. I think the photo does an adequate job of displaying the various edge issues. This poster comes from the collection of Brad Rodgers and is the real deal. There are so very few of the true originals of this poster around (most are reprints).

Late in 1966 the London underground newspaper International Times held a launch party for their new paper. After the success of that event the promoters opened their own underground club, the UFO. Upon learning that other clubs in the US were printing posters for their events, they decided that this was a necessity for their events as well. In early 1967 Michael English was introduced to Nigel Waymouth and the two agreed to work together designing posters for these promoters. The two first chose the name 'Cosmic Colors', but produced only one poster under that  name. Next they chose the name 'Jacob and the Coloured Coat', but produced only two posters using that name. In about March of 1967 the settled on 'Hapshash and the Coloured Coat', the name by which they are best known. Around the time that the two began working together the International Times formed an off shoot company to handle it's poster design and printing for the UFO club and others, it's name was Osiris Visions. Included in this series of posters are a few that the various artists did before Osiris Agency was formed. Also included are a few posters by artists other than English and Waymouth. Most notably Martin Sharp, Mike McInnerney and Greg Irons. Osiris lasted until the fall of 1968 when the demand for all things psychedelic had completely dried up. Osiris numbered their posters in five different series using a variety of numbering schemes (including omitting one or several numbers at a time).

At present, there are a number of Hapshash and Osiris posters around that are, IN MY  OPINION, bootlegs. That is, they have been created well after 1967 and likely in the late 1990's in order to sell to an unsuspecting and unknowing public. These posters all have the following traits listed below, but the most obvious and telling trait is that they seem brand new, like they were made yesterday, (which they probably were). These are available from a variety of sources on e-bay as well as occasionally in the traditional auction house market although I've noticed that most of the reputable houses are no longer selling them.

The bottom line on these posters is that unless you are an expert yourself, or are incredibly sure of where a particular poster has been for the last 40 years you should assume that the poster you are buying is a bootleg. This holds especially true of posters bought on E-bay.

Here is a list of all of the ways to distinguish the bootlegs from the original printings..  These are  in no particular order of significance.

1. I've heard at least three stories about where these are coming from. The latest is the widow of one of the artists. Well, Nigel Waymouth and Michael English are both still with us so they don't have widows yet. I also heard the aunt of someone at the printer. I also heard the son of the aunt of the printer. None are true, they are being printed up this year.

2. The posters measure 19 1/2 by 29 1/2. Real ones come in at around 19 3/4 by 29 7/8 up to 20 by 30. This tells me that the process they are using to duplicate them causes some loss to the image size.

3. Fine details that exist on the first printings do not exist on these. I.E.  on the Tomorrow poster there should be more dots in the lettering than is actually there. There should also be more line detail on the bird. I have a white one that is for sure real to compare to and it is obvious that there has been some degrading in the image quality.  Further, on these there is quite a lot of spillover between the inks. Lots of silver on the black etc. There is no spillover on the originals. You can see each print run on the originals. I suspect these are printed in one run instead of the 2-4 that would be required the other way.

4. These posters are brand new. They are not Mint condition, they are brand new. There is not a single fold, crease, smudge, bent corner, wave, bend or curl. No matter how well they were stored over the years it's just physically not possible for them to all be perfect. I've picked up quite a collection of Hapshash items, and other paper goods for that matter, over the years and none of them come even close to being this nice.

5. The biggest problem to me though is the paper. It's not the right stock. It should be a little thicker. Not a lot, just a little. But where I know they're not right is when I turn them over. They are white as snow. Not off white, not faded white, but bright white. There is just no way that ANY paper produced in 1967 could look like that. It's impossible. Paper is made using various chemicals that will eventually cause it to age. No matter what. These haven's aged a bit. That's why I believe they are being printed this year. If you smell them they don't smell 35 years old either. They smell brand new. Go get your nicest LP from 35 years ago and smell it. It smells like it is 35 years old. That is a hard thing to duplicate.

6. The colors are just a little bit off. The Julie Felix that is around has an olive green through gold coloration. The one shown in Ted Owens's book is yellow. That is a big problem. Of course one vendor says that they "were all printed during different print runs" etc. etc. That's true, they were created in a print run 35 years later. Hah.

7. The Arthur Brown of the 500 series is on the same paper stock as all the rest basically. I have a Hendrix of the 500 series that is for sure real that is printed on more of a newsprint type stock. It has yellowed and looks like it is 35 years old.

8. The double size Pink Floyd at the UFO club is printed on the same paper stock as some of the others, that is: one side is plain white matte paper and the other is a semi gloss or "waxie" texture. What are the odds that the same paper stock would be used on a poster from 1967 and another from a couple of years later.

9. I've noticed that one of the key methods to determine a bootleg from an original is to look for any overspray of ink colors. On most of the bootlegs you can see a very fine overspray on colors. That is, there will be a very fine mist of one color on top of another i.e. black on top of silver or gold on top of black etc.

10. The other key method to determining a bootleg from an original is to see how many layers of ink there are, or how many print runs were required to print the poster. On the originals you can clearly see where one layer of ink ends and another starts or overlaps it. On the bootlegs it looks like the colors are all part of the same print run with no depth or layering.
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