An Original Grateful Dead T-Shirt from 1967 Sold for $17,600+ at Auction by Sotheby’s

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Rock Cellar Magazine

In a surprising development that ought to instill (likely unrealized) hope in the hearts of so many of us who never let go of our old band t-shirts, an original Grateful Dead tee dating back to 1967 sold for a mind-bending $17,640 through reputable auction house Sotheby’s in a recent purchase.

Yes, almost $18,000 for a cotton t-shirt.

As you may suspect given that astronomical price tag, this particular shirt does trace its history to the inner circle of the Dead, and was among the earliest designs the jam band utilized in the beginning of its burgeoning empire.

Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

After expenses and fees, auction winner Bo Bushnell paid a total of $19,315.80 for the Grateful Dead souvenir, which was listed in excellent condition among the Sotheby’s lot “From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends.” It is believed to be among the first shirts mass-produced by the band, although in incredibly limited quantities.

The T-shirt was previously in possession of Dan Healy, an audio engineer who worked with the Dead.

More about this relic of the early days of the Dead, via the Sotheby’s auction site:

Designed by the Hells Angel, Merry Prankster, and graphic artist Allan “Gut” Terk, a key figure in California counterculture in the 1960’s. Friends with Ken Kesey, he was the painter of the Pranksters’ “Further” bus in 1964 and designed the Acid Test Graduation posters. By 1967, through his work for the Dead, he was acclaimed in the Bay Area music scene for his t-shirt and poster art.

Given the context of this one yellow shirt from more than 50 years ago, the price tag makes a bit more sense — but that’s still a lofty sum indeed for a shirt.

For a more affordable deal on Grateful Dead shirts, visit our Rock Cellar Marketplace by clicking this link.

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