A Grateful Dead T-shirt from 1967 sold for more than $17,000 on Friday, breaking a record as the most expensive vintage shirt ever bought at an auction.
Auction house Sotheby’s reported the tee sold for $17,640, more than doubling the $6,000-$8,000 estimate. Billed as “one of the earliest official Grateful Dead shirts,” the tee is believed to be among the first the band ever pressed up and mass produced.
Designed by Hells Angel and Merry Prankster Allan “Gut” Terk, the yellowish-orange shirt has a simple design with the band’s name outlined in black block letters across the center. The shirt comes from the collection of Dan Healy, an engineer who worked for the Dead, according to Sotheby’s. It was bought by Bo Bushnell, who paid a grand total of $19,315.80 after expenses. The size large shirt was listed in “excellent condition.”
In a post to Bushnell’s Instagram, which appears to document 1960s motorcycle club artifacts and garb, Bushnell wrote, “We just did this to keep the memory of #GutTerk alive and to keep his history under one roof.”
“Right now, there’s a booming market for vintage rock-band T-shirts, and that market has just reached a crazy new high,” Bushnell continued in another post. Up until now, according to the account, the most expensive vintage shirt in history was one from a 1979 Led Zeppelin run at Knebworth House in the UK, which sold for $10,000 in an eBay auction in 2011.
Another Dead shirt from Healy’s collection sold for $15,120 in Friday’s auction, according to Sotheby’s. It went for $15,120, and became the second-most-expensive vintage shirt sold at auction. The shirt is from “the legendary” May 8, 1977 show at Cornell University, which many considered “the Holy Grail” of the Dead’s performances, according to Sotheby’s. It features the band’s signature “Steal Your Face” logo.