The vintage rock band t-shirt market has reached an all-time high, thanks to a holy grail Grateful Dead tee sold for a record $17,640 at a recent Sotheby’s auction. Per Defunkd, this price nearly doubles the previous high held by a Led Zeppelin shirt that went for $10,000 back in 2011.
The orange t-shirt was designed by graphic artist Allan “Gut” Terk and comes from the collection of Dan Healy, an engineer who worked for the band. In the auction listing, it’s described as an “official t-shirt from 1967, around the time of the Dead’s earliest major performances.” Check out a photo of the tee above.
Bo Bushnell, the buyer and owner of Outlaw Archive, claims it’s the “first t-shirt ever released by the Grateful Dead.” He recently shared a video of Terk speaking about designing the merch. Watch the clip below.
Another Grateful Dead t-shirt from Healy’s collection came close to setting the record. The gray tee sold for $15,120 and is emblazoned with the legendary Dead lightning skull. According to Sotheby’s description, it comes from the “Holy Grail” of Dead performances: their May 8th,1977 show at Barton Hall, Cornell University. Check out photos of the shirt below.
“These are incredible results and to my knowledge are the highest selling vintage rock t-shirts to date,” vintage t-shirt expert Max Bittle told Defunkd. “Today was a monumental day for our hobby. Shirts from the mid to late ’60s are less common than posters in a lot of cases. To see them fetch high prices like this really validates them as top-notch rock memorabilia.”