The month before, on October 15, they had played at Erics in Liverpool, watched by only around 50 people.
A simple poster made to promote the gig turned up at a house in north Lincolnshire. Estimated at £750-1000 on March 15 at Hansons (25% buyer’s premium) in Etwall, Derbyshire, it sold at £1450 via thesaleroom.com.
Its survival was down to retired musician Martin Watson, 67. In 1976 he was a guitarist with Albert Dock, later the Yachts, support band at the Pistols’ gig at Erics.
He said: “The poster has been sitting under lining paper in a drawer for the last 47 years. I came across it during a clear-out. I have lots of memorabilia from my seven years in New Wave bands in the 1970s and 80s.”
The Pistols’ gig may have been small but attracted the likes of Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford, both later of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the late Pete Burns of Dead or Alive.
The poster, which measures 11½ x 8½in (29.5 x 21cm), includes a photo taken by Watson of Albert Dock/Yachts members John Campbell and Henry Priestman standing on a rock. It was snapped during an art college trip to the Lake District.
Claire Howell, music memorabilia consultant at Hansons, said: “This is a very important piece of Pistols and punk history.
“I’m aware of only one other original Erics Sex Pistols poster and it sold for £900 at auction in 2008.
“It’s important because this performance came at a pivotal time. Less than a month before, they’d signed a five-year management contract with Malcolm McLaren’s Glitterbest Ltd. Three weeks prior to this show, Nick Mobbs of EMI saw the band for the first time, and on October 8, just a week before the gig at Erics, the group signed to the label.
“Days before the gig the band recorded an early version of Anarchy in the UK. Several gigs followed from October 12 with shows in Dundee, Wolverhampton and Birkenhead before Liverpool. The Pistols were on the cusp of making it big.”