Is it real?

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One of my top searches on eBay is “vintage *bandname* shirt”, usually for ZZ top, AC/DC or Motörhead, but a lot of others too. This will give you not only actual vintage shirts, but also vintage LOOKING shirts, distressed or designed to look old. This is not a problem in any way. What IS a problem, however, is where these groups intersect. Nobody would deny there are brand new distressed shirts being sold as authentic vintage shirts on eBay, but how can you tell? Sure, if the seller is located in the Phillipines or Indonesia, chances that a 80’s concert shirt from the u.s. has made it there are pretty slim, but sometimes it’s harder than that. When you get a poorly photographed shirt that just seems too cheap and too vividly coloured and the seller promises it’s an authentic shirt, but something just feels wrong… how much do you put as your maximum bid? There are certain sellers that seem to have an endless stock of bright vintage jerseys in perfect nick and even though there IS a chance they came upon a NOS (new old stock) gold mine, I kinda doubt it. When in doubt, I ask to see the inside tag. I don’t know if it’s harder to fake, but it seems nobody bothers, which means that so far, the rule of thumb “worn and faded tag = vintage shirt” has worked out ok for me. And, as always, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Bargains are usually found at the local flea market, not on eBay.

While looking for suitable photos for this text (and please note that I’m not in any way claiming all the above are fakes), I also came upon a few that were too nice not to share. Enjoy!

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