There is a big market for music memorabilia and no band embody that fevered bidding for a tangible link to the past quite like the Grateful Dead. Now, they have the price tag to prove that.
The T-shirt dates back to 1967 and it went up for auction at Sotheby’s smashing the previous merch record held by Led Zeppelin of $10,000 USD from a 1979 Knebworth show.
This figure was far eclipsed by the Dead shirt, fetching a whopping $17,640 USD at auction. Now, that’s certainly not something you’d want to accidentally bung in the wash with a pair of red socks.
The t-shirt is part of a collection held by former sound engineer Dan Healy. The 1967 date makes it one of the earliest official shirts made for the band and Healy’s care has ensured that it has stayed in pristine condition.
The shirt was designed by Allan Turk who took to Instagram to describe his work for the new owner Bob Bushell just prior to the purchase.
The post reads: “One of #GutTerk ‘s Grateful Dead t-shirts is going up for auction at @sothebys next week during the ‘From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends’ auction.”
Adding: “It’s the first t-shirt ever released by the Grateful Dead, and they probably made 150 of them. Not many could have survived, but wow that’s big $$$$. Here’s a video of him talking about designing the shirt.”
You can check out the images of the rather pricey piece of cotton below.