*Undergrounds: Not named for the Wizard from the films, but rather because its first iteration (1963-1969) originated in the creator’s native Australia, Oz Magazine’s London edition hit the streets in 1967, and became much more notorious than its parent, being the subject of controversy, media hysteria, and a very famous obscenity trial.
An integral part of the UK’s underground press, Oz became synonymous with the psychedelic counterculture, though it always had more fangs than the derisive ‘hippie’ label implied, regularly enraging the British Establishment with a range of left-field stories including heavy critical coverage of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, discussions of drugs, sex and alternative lifestyles, and contentious political stories, presented alongside daring and innovative artwork, including contributors from the world of Underground Comix.
Regularly raided by police, the Oz team, weary and disheartened, finally gave up with issue 48 in 1973, but each went on to success in other fields, disproving the disparaging comments made by the judge in their 1971 obscenity trial that they were, among other things, misfits and incompetents.
We have acquired a selection of the rare early issues of the London OZ, including the very first, in a remarkable state of preservation given their vintage. Issue #1 VG/FN is £800, #2 VG £200, #7 FN/VF £125, #10 FN £100 and #13 VG £75. Limited circulation – and frequent seizures and destruction by the loveable lads and lasses of the Metropolitan Police – ensure that these counter-cultural artefacts are vanishingly scarce today.