Don’t throw out those old concert t-shirts. They could be worth $$$.

My wife demanded that I go through my closet as part of a spring purge of clothes. This led to the annual discussion over the need to keep all my old concert t-shirts. Under pressure, I went through all of them and threw out exactly none.

“I can’t get rid of these! They could be worth money!” That resulted in a derisive snort.

But then this article appeared in The Guardian yesterday.

They may be tatty, beer-stained and full of holes, but band T-shirts from gigs enjoyed decades ago could be a nice little earner.

Led Zeppelin T-shirt from their 1979 Knebworth gig, issued in lieu of that rarest of commodities, a backstage pass, is thought to be the most expensive ever sold. An anonymous Australian stumped up $10,000 for it in 2011, a tidy return given that the seller picked it up for $123.

A growing memorabilia market fuelled by nostalgia and aided by a new wave of young musicians paying tribute to their influences means band T-shirts command sky-high prices. Vintage T-shirt website Defunkd is listing a limited edition Run DMC shirt celebrating the rap group’s partnership with Adidas for $13,000.

Defunkd founder James Applegath says nostalgia is a key factor, with music fans seeking a tangible link to memories that are growing hazier. “If people wore the T-shirt back in the day, they want to get it back,” he says. “Celebrities are getting into the mix, like Justin Bieber wearing Nirvana shirts. Then there’s just straight-up collectors. They won’t even wear it, they’ll just stash it away.”

HAH! I KNEW IT! I wonder how much I could get for that U2 shirt I bought at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in 2010?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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