A Closer Look Into the World of Seattle Batman, Shon Abrahamson, And His Incredible Collection Of Pearl Jam Memorabilia

A Closer Look Into the World of Seattle Batman, Shon Abrahamson, And His Incredible Collection Of Pearl Jam Memorabilia

It is appropriate, and perhaps no surprise, that the world’s greatest collection of Pearl Jam memorabilia lies in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington and at the home of long time superfan Shon Abrahamson (a/k/a “Seattle Batman” in social media). The Collectionzz team, including co-founder Ian Linde and Steven Kotchek, headed out to Seattle to meet Shon and view his collection first hand.

His massive collection is stored within what can only be described as a museum; with posters, autographs, instruments, vinyl records, CDs, banners, personal notes, and one-of-a-kinds neatly covering the walls, several display cases and even ceilings. Shon’s collection not only encompass Pearl Jam though; but also other bands from the 90’s Seattle music scene like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains.

When you talk to Shon, you quickly get the impression that he is not collecting just the items, but he’s collected the memories too. As a young man, like so many others, he was captured by the Seattle music scene. When driving through Seattle with Shon, he pointed out places like the Off Ramp Cafe, the Moore Theatre, the Vogue, and several other clubs (most of which no longer exist unfortunately) where this music was brewing before eventually exploding globally.

At that time, he explains, running into the likes of Chris Cornell, Layne Staley or Krist Novoselic on the street corner before or after a show wasn’t uncommon. Shon became acquaintances, and indeed friends, with many of the musicians whom later became household names and were no longer Seattle’s little secret. Because of his connection and friendship with the bands, their management, and crew Shon has amassed a truly breathtaking collection of music memorabilia. After gawking at the collection for a few hours, we got down to business to ask the man himself a few questions:

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Steven: What drew you to collecting in general?

Shon: Truly, I think it started at a young age. I collected “Starting Lineup” sports figurines, and even before that I had Star Wars figurines that I never took out of packaging. I was just born that way! I’ve had OCD since I was a young kid, and organizing my collection was satisfying and pleasing to me.

Steven: When I first visited your collection, it was a bit overwhelming, which I am sure is a common reaction to those who are lucky enough to get the tour.

Shon: Yep. When you go into that first room of the collection itself, I wanted that sudden impact on people. At first, I just used the walls and display cases, but I also decided to use the ceilings to hang things from to give people that feeling of overwhelmedness because you aren’t used to seeing things on the ceiling!

Steven: You definitely have a focus on Pearl Jam collectibles. What was it about Pearl Jam in particular that made you want to collect their items?

Shon: The biggest thing for me was after I met them, they had the coolest personalities and are just nice guys, for lack of a better term. It was always great seeing other musicians and talking to them, but Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready were just so engaging! And Dave Abbruzzese! He was a character! Not that the other bands weren’t nice. Like Layne Staley was nice, but he was quiet and not talkative. Then, when you hear Pearl Jam’s music, their lyrics moved me and spoke to me in a deeper way, and had a deeper meaning to me then the others.

Steven: There’s many incredible things in your collection, but to me, the posters are my personal favorite. Can you explain your love for Pearl Jam posters?

Shon: Absolutely. This started a long time ago. In 1996 I was at a show, I don’t remember which one. Back then, I couldn’t afford merch, and there really weren’t many things available anyway, but I would maybe get a shirt or a program. Anyway, I’m leaving a show in 1996 and I stopped by the merch booth and they still had a ton of posters left! And it just wasn’t just for that show, but other show too. Back then I lived in a town house with plain white walls, and I loved covering the walls, and the Pearl Jam posters just fit. Once I got one or two posters, I had to get every single one ever made! And it just snowballed from there.

Steven: Pearl Jam posters are so popular that they normally sell out at shows within a few minutes of the doors opening. You have many Pearl Jam posters in your collection that are impossible to find, such as the pre-2000 posters. How did you acquire them?

Shon: Back then, it was no problem to get posters at the shows. In 1998, for instance, I couldn’t afford to go to all the shows but Ten Club (Pearl Jam’s official fan club) was great selling posters, and they were just $12 each. They used to even combine shipping! But it was archaic. You’d talk to someone online, you would email and ask if they had a particular poster. It was such hard work because the community wasn’t formed. And some people would rip you off, you’d send a check and never hear back from them. Of course, eBay came around and I got some things from them. But even back then certain posters were very hard to find. For instance, the poster with Pilate and his dog, the Brisbane 1998, I remember I had a really hard time finding it! I’d start contacting artists too if I was missing posters. I’d do research and try and find the numbers and email addresses of them and contact them that way. Being in Seattle, a lot of them were in town. I also got to know the guys who printed the posters, and got some that way too. But now with sites like Collectionzz, it makes finding posters much easier.

Steven: A lot of collectors I speak with, especially that have been doing it for some time, were shocked about the increase in value of the 1998 posters in particular. What do you think about some of them fetching well over $1,000 in today’s market?

Shon: You know, to me, they are art, more than just concert posters. The 1998 posters have so much character. Even the ones I think aren’t so attractive or cool, you can see the creativity to them. The ideas were flowing, the artists were experimenting. There are some very unique ones — to me it makes perfect sense for them to increase in value. Posters are the coolest thing Pearl Jam has, and by far the best posters were from 1998.

Steven: This is a common question collectors ask each other, but this is going to be really interesting asking you because of the depth of your poster collection. What are your top five favorite posters in your collection?

Shon: It’s hard to think, but the one that pops to mind is 1998 St. Louis. Then, the rest of my top five are 1998 Noblesville, Green Lady (1992 Houston), 1998 Columbia, and 2011 Edmonton Foil by Emek. Emek’s Santa Barbara 06 and “Blackie” (2000 Chicago ) are also up there for me, it is a shame they weren’t released.

Steven: Beyond the items that one may expect in a collection, you have some really incredible one of a kind items. For example, there is a large motorcycle parked right in the middle of the room. Can you talk about that in particular?

Shon: That motorcycle, maybe 10–15 years ago, I got a call from a customer of mine who was at a house party in a town called Ballard, which is a suburb of Seattle, which happens to be where Layne Staley grew up. The customer said that the guy’s house where the party was… let’s just say… Layne purchased things from him and was out of money one time and Layne gave him the motorcycle as payment. I immediately went down to the house to take a look, and Layne’s motorcycle was right there in the shed! The Hard Rock Cafe was also interested in buying it, but needed more proof of ownership than what this particular gentlemen could produce. I knew I wouldn’t get photos of Layne on the bike, but I did my own research, and we were able to work out a deal. It was a low-risk, but definitely high-reward purchase. That is Layne’s own artwork on the bike too.

Steven: What is the future of this collection, and what are you currently setting your attentions on?

Shon: I have a goal right now. I was able to get one of the two posters I was missing up through 2012. I now have every single Pearl Jam poster through 2012, except the variant of 2011 Toronto by Dabs Myla! I am now working on posters from 2013 to present. I noticed that the new posters from 2013 onwards have artwork on the back of them too, so I was brainstorming and I am going to make a plexiglass wall for those posters to show the front on one side and the back on the other side!

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Shon’s entire collection will soon be featured on Collectionzz.com, with more questions and answers from Shon, additional photos and videos. Collectionzz wishes to sincerely thank Shon and Kylie for their incredible hospitality!