$903 For Your Vintage Rock Concert T-Shirt? Yes Please…

ebay auction t shirts metal vintage

One of the problems of not having a time-machine (and there are many) is the difficulty in predicting exactly which bits of accumulated old tat you should throw disdainfully in the nearest skip, and which you should wrap in linen and ceremonially preserve in a casket in the loft with full military honours.

The Egyptians had the right idea, squirrelling away all manner of treasures in the tombs of Pharaohs, all of which are now priceless. Howard Carter didn’t exit the tomb of King Tut holding a single Franklin Mint Lady Diana Commemorative Plate or Athena Pierrot poster. It was all unerringly good stuff – amulets (whatever they are) and the kind of things that Indiana Jones would be stuffing down his trousers whilst running away from unfeasibly large boulders. Those Egyptians knew what they were doing. They would have invariably been a shoo-in for the closing item on The Antiques Roadshow.

Sadly, I lack the foresight of those sages. Right now I am sitting on one of the world’s foremost collections of worthless late ’80’s Batman comics, all stored in pristine condition in the loft and each valued at around one percent of the price I paid, whilst around the same time it seems I binned about two grand’s worth of potential easy cash by chucking away all my old heavy metal t-shirts. Damn. Not only would I have been better off from a style and fashion perspective not wearing Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” on my chest, but I would have been financially better off too. Double (rock n roll) Damnation.

A quick look at eBay (which is 15 years old tomorrow) reveals some quite surprising sums being demanded for “vintage” items.

In June this year, this Iron Maiden t-shirt from 1985 fetched a staggering $903. That’s $903. For an Iron Maiden t-shirt.Eddie Iron Maiden t shirt 1985 New York

Top of the list of items for sale currently is a 1973 Alice Cooper t shirt – yours for *just* $700. Rather enjoyably, according to the seller, this item has the added bonus of being available “with no stains”, which considering the price being asked might be considered a given.

If Cooper doesn’t thrill you, then perhaps Simmons, Stanley, Frehley and Criss might: a Kiss 1977 tour shirt is a snip at $600. Now that’s a price that will have Gene Simmons scrabbling up his loft in his platform heels to check for unsold stock. This one for sale is even better as it promises to be sent “with no holes” in it. I should think not…

A 1985 Slayer t shirt is a mere $550, whilst a 1988 Guns n Roses t shirt is £280. The latter does have “some holes in it” however. No wonder it is so inexpensive….

If those items are too much, then a 1985 Fly on the Wall AC/DC shirt can be yours for just $250 in “broken in condition”, which is presumably a euphemism for “straight from a jumble sale”. $250 for a t-shirt celebrating one of AC/DC’s least-popular albums? Interesting….

It isn’t just the big bands that command the high prices. A Kix “Blow My Fuse” tour t-shirt is $199, which is probably more than you’d have to pay to get the band to play a gig at your house. And I say that as someone who saw that band twice in concert (here’s a photo I took at The Marquee in 1989 to prove it).

Kix Blow My Fuse guitarist Brian "Damage" Forsythe

Kix guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe in 1989

And to think I had t-shirts from Def Leppard, Great White, Magnum, Marillion, Guns n Roses, and er, well who knows, it was a long time ago…

So take a look in your attic and dig out your old heavy metal t-shirts. They may be worth a small fortune. Yes, even that Yngwie J Malmsteen one….and that Blue Oyster Cult one….

Ah, but probably not that Manowar one. No, you keep that one in the attic. There is a limit, you know….*

* Actually even a Manowar t-shirt recently sold for close to $100.

Categories: Heavy Metal

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. I have a Dio t-shirt from The Last in Line tour. I wonder how much that would be worth


  2. Manowar t-shirt? It’s one of the hot-water bottles he destroyed on-stage that fans really crave surely…

    Happily (or not) I have several dozen old rock t’s in an archival mouse proof box in the loft. As they shrunk with each wash (clearly it was not me who grew) they soon became unwearable but I could not part. Trouble is they’re for bands like Stackridge and Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Maybe the fashionistas would pay even more for such obscurities?


  3. Oh my, someone might buy my tired old but rare Guns n’ Roses hoodie? That’s crazy talk, I’ve probably never washed it 🙂


  4. I have all my old Rock T-shirts, but I don’t think any of them are rare or are worth any money.


  5. We just unearthed a large garbage bag full of concert t-shirts, mostly Iron Maiden, but also KISS and even Blue Oyster Cult. I’m not sure if they are in the condition that would get $100s, but I’m also not sure any sum would get my husband to part with them.


  6. They may be asking for huge sums of money on Ebay but how many are selling?

    I have all mine (Including a faded Manowar Hail To England tour shirt). All stored in the loft just waiting for the day when someone just can’t live without a grey (Original colour) Marillion Fugazi tour shirt or a near mint Accept, Balls to the wall tour shirt or a white Iron Maiden Powerslave shirt (The one where Eddie’s head is the Sphinx!)


  7. I have a black ores rainbow straight between the eyes 1982 World tour concert tshirt
    I wonder what that would be worth?


  8. Crazy enough, tour shirts of little known (outside of underground punk fanboys/fetishists/hangers-on) american hardcore punk bands from the 80s/early 90s scene go for these same crazy high prices.


    That’s a page that shows what some of these collector’s items look like. Wild stuff, not sure the market will really last on these things and they go back to being $5 grabs in thrift stores.


  9. Ive got a 1985 metallica tshirt pretty good shape ride the lightning tour for sale


  10. Ok wow, so I have like 2 containers full of old rock and every band for that matter, of concert t-shirts! My mother, went to every concert that ever came to Dallas, before me and my early stages as well, but never left without buying a shirt, and then kept them tucked away! Just recently came across them, I wear a few of them and she throws a fit, but this was good info to know, now I know there more then just sentimental value! And again, where would I start to try and see the value of these, like I said I have A LOT… Thanks….

    Liked by 1 person

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