Psychedelicatessen Collection [first headshop in New York]
New York: Psychedelicatessen, 1967. Unpaginated. 14 unbound sheets, offset printed from holograph text and illustration, inside original screen printed wrappers. With two more wrappers and two stamped and postmarked manila envelopes sent to a customer in New Jersey. All items near fine, excluding the two manila envelopes, one of of which is illustrated by psychedelicatessen, and both of which contain psychedelicatessen stamp, and bear the signs of being mailed and opened. Item #5543
A collection of sheets from at least three different highly sought-after silkscreened catalogs for the short lived Psychedelicatessen, one of the first head shops in the United States.
Located at 164 Avenue A between 10th and 11th Streets - just up the block from Tompkins Square Park, around the corner from the Peace Eye Bookstore, and a few blocks from the Fillmore East -- the Pyschedelicatessen was at the center of psychedelia and counterculture on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Opened in 1966, the store immediately drew widespread attention. Though open for less than two years, the Psychedelicatessen was written up in Time magazine, the subject of a photo-essay in OZ, and satirized on the NBC television program, Jack Benny’s Bag. It is described in some detail in Fug You, the memoir of Ed Sanders, and the Fugs even played at least one show there.
The shop was also subject to police harassment from the very beginning and on June 22, 1968, the Psychedelicatessen was finally shut down. Rick Southworth and Susan Swede were apparently not just proprietors of this early headshop, but also the leaders of a new religious movement / psychedelic cult, The Church of Mysterious Elation. As detailed in the New York Daily News ("Raid Hippie Cult, Seize $6M Dope", Friday, September 27, 1968, p. 5), their home and church, and then their store, were raided by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and "10 pounds of hashish, believed the largest haul of that drug in New York City; 11 pounds of marijuana; 4,500 tablets of LSD; 1,500 tablets of speed, 150 mescaline capsules and 150 tablets of various hallucinogens" were seized.
The only other copy we’ve come across before had six unbound sheets; other than that, we cannot find traces of this item. Likely, the Psychedelicatessen Catalog did not exist as one static publication but rather was various promotional materials stuffed into the same illustrated wrappers. Given the two stamped envelopes and three wrappers, this lot appears to be the gathered contents of three catalogs collected by a satisfied customer. It exemplifies
Incredibly rare. No copies located on OCLC, and we have only ever seen one other in commerce. More images upon request.