Rare and early The Who poster headlines Somerset auction

A 2ft 5in x 3ft 2in (72 x 95cm) The Who poster from The Blue Moon club sold at Gardiner Houlgate of Corsham near Bath on March 12 via thesaleroom.com at £11,500.

A poster for a gig by The Who at The Blue Moon Club in Cheltenham attracted fans at a recent Gardiner Houlgate sale.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

The Blue Moon, a club above Burton’s on Cheltenham High Street, existed for less than two years from July 1965 to May 1967, but in that time the compact 250-strong venue with a tiny stage hosted Elton John, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and (on February 11, 1967) Jimi Hendrix.

As suggested by the simple graphics to this very rare poster, one of the first performers at the venue on a Wednesday night in August 1965 was The Who. The band had only formed the previous year but was already enjoying the success of two hit singles (I Can’t Explain and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere) ahead of the release of the classic debut album My Generation.

The support act that night was a three-piece band called The Silence, including on bass guitar Pete Overend Watts (1947-2017), later of Mott The Hoople, who recalled sitting on the neck of one of Pete Townsend’s guitars and breaking it during afternoon rehearsals.

The 2ft 5in x 3ft 2in (72 x 95cm) poster came for sale at Gardiner Houlgate of Corsham near Bath on March 12 from Watts’ estate. It had an estimate of £200-400 but sold to a buyer via thesaleroom.com at £11,500 (plus 20% buyer’s premium), achieving the sort of headlining price now reserved for early posters by an elite group of 1960s artists.