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For some superfans, collecting every LP and EP isn’t enough. Exclusive music merchandise such as an iconic album’s first pressing, signed records, bobbleheads, and original concert tees from every single tour are just a few ways for nostalgic diehards to go the extra mile and own a piece of their favorite artists (without stepping into stalker territory). These days, you no longer need to scour flea market bins or antique stores to uncover a rare find — some of the best places to shop online for vintage music merch do all of that hard digging for you.
How to Find Vintage Concert Tees
If you’re an aficionado for authentic vintage clothing (such as tour merch), having an eye for detail is key to avoid reproductions, says Ben Phillips of Lot Stock & Barrel, a Los Angeles-based design and embroidery customization studio that has created bespoke pieces for the Super Bowl, the Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell, musician Pearl Charles, and others. “It has to start with research, the more educated you are in terms of different eras of everything, from vintage denim to t-shirts, the more educated you can be and the faster you can [spot modern pieces].”
That can include examining the fabric weave, pocket designs, and clothing labels on garments. Phillips points out that many apparel brands have licensing agreements with musicians, and with the ability for factories to recreate the vintage look with distressing treatments, it’s not easy to spot the differences with the naked eye.
Phillips also suggests using broader search terms when you’re looking for vintage concert shirts on resale sites like eBay. “It is a little bit of his or miss. I try not to type in specific things,” he says. “If I’m looking for black metal shirts, I’ll just put in black metal band names instead of ‘Marilyn Manson’ — the more obscure, the better,” he says. His reasoning is that there are likely more reproduction pieces for “first-tier” bands or artists; for instance, you can probably find plenty of original Spacemen 3 tees, but vintage Sonic Youth shirts may be much harder to come by.
Many sellers often include bands within the same sub-genre in the product listing, which makes it easier to find similar items or even discover under-the-radar bands that you haven’t heard yet, he points out. And if you like what you see from a particular seller, don’t forget to check out the rest of their inventory, as they typically offer many other hard-to-find goods.
What Are the Best Places to Shop Online for Vintage Music Merch?
Looking to add to your memorabilia collection? Whether you’re a devotee of classic rock, Nineties pop, rap, jazz, or more, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to shop online for vintage music merch. Check out our top picks below.
What Amazon.com has done for everyday essentials (and basically everything), eBay.com has done for vintage and antique music memorabilia.
Amazon has brand new concert tees and music merch from previous years in stock (say, from Justin Bieber’s 2015 “Purpose Tour”) but for true vintage pieces, you’ll want to head to eBay.
The online auction and resale giant allows you to filter products by music genre (including blues, country, folk, hip-hop, reggae, rock, world music, and more), price, new or used condition, item location (in case you prefer to pick up your purchase locally), and Authenticity Guarantee, to name a few.
Inventory varies, but we’ve spotted everything from authentic Jimi Hendrix x Converse sneakers, to a signed Snoop Dogg vinyl figurine, to still-boxed Britney Spears dolls, to name just a few. If you’ve got valuable music collectibles, eBay also lets you connect with a consignor to sell your treasures to another fan.
In addition to offering handmade music-inspired decor and gifts by independent artists, Etsy is also one of the best online shops for vintage concert tees and other music merchandise. You can sort by handmade or vintage items, price range, and location as well as other categories (such as memorabilia from sports, movies, and TV shows). A few recent standouts have included a signed Grateful Dead acoustic guitar, an authenticated vintage Bob Dylan shirt (previously owned by Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, no less), and a 1969 concert ticket for Pink Floyd.
Hollywood Memorabilia doesn’t just offer one-of-a-kind merch for film buffs and TV lovers. If you’re looking for authentic music merch such as signed instruments, rare ephemera, and other unique products, the online pop culture emporium has plenty to choose from. Shoppers can organize virtual inventory by popular bands or artists, pricing, unsigned or autographed, and other details. A sampling of current collectibles include electric guitar signed by Paul McCartney, a brick signed by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and a music contract signed by Michael Jackson.
If you don’t trust yourself to keep precious pieces in mint condition, Amazon is a great source for reproductions of vintage concert posters and clothing, as well popular memorabilia such as Funko Pop vinyl figurines, books, celebrity perfumes, and more. From Woodstock wall art and Queen posters, to retro Rolling Stones tees, the online e-commerce giant covers all of the bases for music collectors.