Would You Pay $17K for this Grateful Dead T-Shirt?

by Kati Michelle

Music memorabilia is a multi-million dollar industry and it’s seen some pretty bizarre things in its time. Elvis Presley’s legacy was so great, for example, that people were willing to fork over thousands of dollars for a jar containing his hair. A while back, one “Florida Man” also got busted stealing a trailer full of Lynyrd Skynyrd memorabilia ahead of a charity event, presumably to auction off the items himself. The latest and craziest item put up for auction in the world of music memorabilia includes a little old band called the Grateful Dead. A t-shirt from their earliest days in ’67 just sold for upwards of $17.6k. What’s your take– is that a fair price? Details below.

Grateful Dead T-Shirt Breaks Records

Sotheby’s is the name of the site that hosted the insane auction. They call themselves “the world’s premier destination for art and luxury.” While they carry a variety of collections from jewelry to shoes, music is also a pretty big driver of their business. Hence, the home for the Grateful Dead merch.

Actually, one of their auctions comes stocked directly from the private collection of the band’s sound engineer, Dan Healy. They also promoted a different collection with a lengthy name. Bids, however, closed for the latter “From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends” after every item sold.

The prized ’67 t-shirt in question sold on Friday, October 15th. Its sale allegedly broke the record for the most expensive vintage rock shirt sold at an auction in history. On the surface, it looks pretty plain. It’s a mustard yellow tee with the band’s name and mostly minimalistic graphic design.

It comes from Allan “Gut” Terk, AKA a Hells Angel and popular artist. It beat out the record previously held by a ’79 Zeppelin shirt that sold for $10k on eBay back in 2011. At the end of the day, auction winner Bo Bushnell forked over $19,315.80 for the tee due to additional taxes and fees on his winning bid of $17,640.00.

What Else Did They Sell?

Though the auction is now closed, Sotheby’s kept up the website so fans can still view the large arsenal of Grateful Dead memorabilia that sold. While t-shirts and jumpsuits make up part of the collection, there’s actually a lot more to explore. Some of the band’s actual gear was even put up for sale. This included guitar pedals, amps, and speakers. Road cases, posters, and alchemy tools also made the cut.

The site lists each item’s original estimated worth along with the final winning bids for each. In most cases, the estimates came in way under the final bid. Fans were willing to outbid each other by thousands of dollars to emerge the victor and new owner of the memorabilia.

It’ll be interesting to see what band can top those numbers. Tweet us your thoughts, we’d love to hear ’em.