Grateful Dead fans are known for their unparalleled dedication to the band.
Still, even some of the most diehard Deadheads might find it hard to fathom the idea of paying close to $20,000 for a concert t-shirt.
But not a collector, who is thought to have put the record for the most money ever paid for a vintage t-shirt when he went to bed $19,315.80 for an original Grateful Dead shirt from 1967.
And here we thought the $40 we spent on this Tiffany concert T-shirt was excessive!
The Grateful Dead yellow shirt — which you can see by clicking here – was expected to sell for between $6,000 and $8,000 at a recent online auction hosted by Sotheby’s that included some 228 Grateful Dead items, according to reports. Instead, the shirt went for $17,640 – which was the actual bid – plus administrative fees, which brought the final price to $19,315.80.
The t-shirt was from the collection of Dan Healy, the sound engineer known for his work with the Grateful Dead and the band’s legendary “Wall of Sound” concert sound system.
This is “an official t-shirt from 1967, the era of the Dead’s first major performances,” according to information on Soethby’s website.
It was designed by graphic designer Allan “Gut” Terk, who was a key figure in the Bay Area counterculture movement of the 1960s as well as a member of the Hell’s Angels and Ken’s famous Merry Pranksters team. Kesey.
“Friend of Ken Kesey, he was the painter of the Pranksters’ ‘Further’ (sic) bus in 1964 and designed the Acid Test Graduation posters. In 1967, through his work for the dead, he won acclaim on the Bay Area music scene for his t-shirts and posters,” according to Sotheby’s auction items page.
The shirt is believed to have been purchased by Bo Bushnell, according to the Vintage T-Shirt Resource website stoned, who unveiled the story on October 14. Bushnell runs the Outlaw Archive Instagram page and related to motorcycle culture. recently posted on winning auction.
“We just did this to keep #GutTerk’s memory alive and to keep his story together under one roof,” the post read.
Another Grateful Dead shirt from the Healy collection grossed $15,120, in all likelihood marking the second highest paid for a vintage concert t-shirt.
The previous record for the most paid for a vintage t-shirt is believed to be that of a 1979 Led Zeppelin shirt, which reportedly cost $10,000 in 2011.
Of course, nothing in Grateful Dead is ever plain or black and white – there’s always a (pardon the pun) “Touch of Grey”. As such, it’s no surprise that there’s already some controversy over which piece of clothing deserves the title of most expensive vintage shirt of all time.
This is because another Grateful Dead garment – a jersey worn by original member Ron “Pigpen” McKernan — went for $21,420 at auction, according to Defunkd. But is this jersey considered a shirt? Or is there a difference? Either way, that’s a lot of dough—nearly $60,000 in total—to pay for three items.
The takeaway from this? Forget stocks and bonds – invest in concert merchandising!