VTV Work Cribs

I don’t know if you knew this, but I earned a Broadcast Communications degree from an established University. Unfortunately, I didn’t nurture or use my skills for years.

“There’s no money in it.” I would always tell myself.

I just realized something: it’s not about the money.

It’s just a good time. Let’s see what kinda story’s come out of it.

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These Vintage Mickey Tees Look The Same! Why Are They Priced Different?

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Outside of one being black and one being gray, what do you say the difference is?

The standard Mickey Mouse tee is perhaps one of the most overproduced T-shirts out there. I recently went to Disneyland several months ago and there was absolutely no shortage of Mickey tees wandering around the park.

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1st and quite possibly the last

So, if everybody has a Mickey tee, what makes the two tees above so damn special?

Well, the black one on the left is from the 80s. I know this because it’s a Stedman brand, 50/50 poly/cotton tee.

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It’s not super rare, but it is somewhat hard to find and is in awesome condition so I have it priced reasonably at 39.99.

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Click to see in store

Now, the one on the right is quite special.

Before I tell you why, understand that in the history of people collecting things, no one has ever wanted a reproduction. The most sought after items are the originals.

First edition Harry Potter books can sell for thousands of dollars.

The first issue of Superman sold for over $3 million dollars.

And an original Led Zeppelin T-shirt from 1979 sold for $10,000.

The gray Mickey tee on the right is not only an original tee from the 70s but it is also a “Tri-Blend” tee meaning that it was made with three materials: Cotton, polyester and Rayon.

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Coupled with the fact it is thin, threadbare and in impeccable shape for being approximately 40 years old (almost vintage for a human being) warrants this Mickey tee to be thrust into the upper echelons of vintage Mickey tees. Which is why it is priced so much higher than the black tee on the left.

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Click to see in store (Update: Now Sold)

It may not be “The First” Mickey tee ever made (undoubtedly not) but it certainly is old and has survived several decades without becoming a dust rag. It is “original”, it is “vintage” and it is “expensive”. It will “sit in my store for a long time”  (Update 12/15/16: this incredible Mickey tee has now been sold) because many people probably won’t want to spend “$300 on a T-shirt” but I’m willing to wait because I guaren-damn-tee you there ain’t many of these out there right now.

It’s an investment.

Thoughts?

 

What Is Considered A “Vintage T-Shirt”?

(Update: Defunkd has already written about this. He even started the post out with the definition of “vintage” like I did! Boy do I feel like an idiot.)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes “vintage” as such: “(The word is) Used to describe something that is not new but that is valued because of its good condition, attractive design”.

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“Vintage”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Why write an entire post about what is considered vintage when the dictionary explains it so well?

Quite frankly, because I don’t think Merriam Webster explains what makes a T-shirt vintage. It just says, “something”. That something could be anything! It could be lunch boxes. It could be pressed coins. Could it not also be for T-shirts?

There has to be some sort of cutoff date before each respective collectible is considered “vintage”, right?

So, for me, when it comes to T-shirts, my cutoff point is the year 2000. Any tee after that year (2001 to the present) can no longer qualify as “vintage” in my book. Perhaps in another ten years or so, I may reexamine what can be defined as a “vintage T-shirt” but for right now, as a collector who sells tees with regularity, my standard is to keep vintage at the year 2000 and before.

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“Kinda Old” (Click photo to see in store)

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“Vintage” (Click photo to see in store)

Lastly and for the record, I happen to be 35 years old. I DO NOT consider myself vintage. The “vintage rules” that apply to tees do not have the same applications with humans. There are billions of people on the planet with the average lifespan being about 67 years old. Using the same formula with humans, I would classify myself as just “kinda old”. I’m not going to be vintage for about another 20 years.

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“Kinda Old” (and with delicious cupcakes)

 

Questions Barbara Walters Might Ask Me

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Barbara Walters: Good evening. I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my lifetime but no one has ever made me shiver in my pantaloons as much as “Chris” of the nostalgic website and eBay store “Holy Idea Tees”. Chris, how are you doing today?

Chris: I’m good Barbara. Thanks for having me. 

BW: First things first, would you please take that ridiculous pizza hat off of your head?

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C: Oops, sorry. I work from home and am used to wearing this all day.

BW: That brings me to my first question: Why did you decide to leave Corporate America to work from home and pursue a dream of fame and fortune through the vintage T-shirt medium?

C: Well, it’s simple really. I hated working for “The Man”.  He (The Man) always had HIS best interests in mind. They were really stupid, boring ideas. Mine were better and more exciting. I got tired of doing things that only squelched my creativity. So… I quit. Now I get to do what I want while wearing a pizza hat all day. 

BW: You bring up your creativity, what are some of the things you do to feed that animal?

C: Not enough things honestly. I’ve spent the better part of two years building my store so I’d have a foundation to build upon. It isn’t until just now with over 1,800 vintage tees in my store that I feel like I have something to market. I would have been hitting the marketing/advertising side a lot more often but when you’re just one person trying to build something you have to prioritize. With that being said, you can expect a lot more activity from me on Instagram, Facebook and on my blog in the next month as I really try to build those avenues. I’m also toying with the idea of a YouTube channel.

BW: I see. So, you’ve had no one helping you? You’ve been doing this all on your own?

C: Well, that’s not entirely true. I have my business partner who also happens to be my beautiful wife who I go to for business advice and second opinions. She also handles all the shipping if and when I have to go out of town. She moonlights as a vintage T-shirt torso model as well so I get to take pictures of her in the vintage tees for the website from time to time.

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BW: Do you enjoy taking pictures of her torso?

C: Yes. Yes I do.

BW: Do you think that perhaps you enjoy it a little too much?

C: What do you mean?

BW: You know what I mean.

C: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I get you. Yes, I suppose I do. She has a very nice torso. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

BW: HAHAHAHA!

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C: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

BW: HAHAHAHAHAHA *BEEEEEEEELLLLLLLCCCCH*…………..

C: ……………….

BW: Oops, sorry about that. I had a giant pastrami sandwich for lunch. It was delicious. It gave me a little indigestion. It was about this big.

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C: I’ve never had pastrami before. 

BW: It’s fantastic stuff. You should try it.

C: What the hell are we talking about? 

BW: I belched and everything got derailed after that. Let’s get back on track. So, your wife helps you, is there anyone else?

C: I have an assistant named Barb. She a nudist doll who identifies (in any number of unique ways) flaws that may be present on the tees in my eBay listings. She gets looked over quite a bit but she’s a very pivotal part of the team here at Holy Idea Tees.

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Barb pointing out a flaw

BW: I see. That’s very, uh… creative.

C: It’s an untraditional way to stick out in someones mind. No one else uses a tiny nudist doll to point out issues. 

BW: You’re right, I can’t say I’ve seen that before.

C: I also use more traditional methods to “stick” out. 

BW: What are you doing?

C: I’m putting all these high quality, weather resistant, die cut Holy Idea Tees stickers on my face.

BW: Aren’t those going to hurt when you pull them off?

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C: Well… I didn’t quite think that though.

BW: Do you need some help getting those off?

C: No. That’s okay they should come off fairly easilaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHAHHHHHHH….

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C: …….HHHHHHHHHAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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BW: Wow. Those are some pretty high quality stickers. Where’d you get those?

C: From this place online called StickerApp. All you have to do is upload your image and within a couple days they’ll have as many stickers as you want delivered to your house. I put a Holy Idea Tees sticker with every vintage tee that’s purchased from my eBay store. My goal is to have a sticker on every car in the U.S. by next year. I’m about one trillionth of the way there.

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BW: What’s the name of that place again?

C: StickerApp. It’s like the word “Sticker” with “App” right behind it. StickerApp. Just don’t stick their stickers on your face. I think I’m going to have to go soak mine in some ice water.

BW: Okay, I appreciate you taking the time to let me ask you hard hitting questions. Sorry for belching pastrami leftovers in your face. Before you go to soak your face, let’s take a photo together.

C: Thanks Barbara, it’s been a pleasure.

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Totally unedited photo of Barbara Walters and me


Did  you know I was also interviewed by Diane Sawyer? You can read that interview by clicking here.

Matt Holliday Doesn’t Shatter My Testes, I Live To Find Vintage T-Shirts

I picked this 70s/80s vintage St. Louis Cardinals tee the other day:

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Click image to see product in eBay store

And, it reminded me of a story….

I’m a lover of baseball. I have been since I was seven years old. In fact, I’ve mentioned several times that my penchant for meticulous organization came from my previously undiagnosed OCD tendencies to organize and then reorganize my baseball cards as a kid.

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Pictured: Dork

Inevitably, if you’ve been around me when I’ve had a few drinks and we’re swapping stories then this will escape my lips:

“You know, I struck out Matt Holliday in high school!”

Matt Holliday, for those of you that don’t know,  is a professional baseball player who currently plays with the St. Louis Cardinals.

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“Seriously Chris? You’re telling this story again?”

See the connection with the Cardinals tee now?

Anyway, I was the starting pitcher for the Ponca City Wildcats in our home opener my senior year.  Our opponent was our cross-town rivals: The Stillwater Pioneers.

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I imagine that ball is headed straight for the batters head

Among the Stillwater Pioneers was the legendary Matt Holliday himself.  Everyone on the team knew back then the kind of skills Matt possessed.  We faced Stillwater often and every time we did there were Major League scouts with radar guns in the stands.  They would come to see Matt exhibit his God-given gifts.  

The lesser, more inept players like myself (whose future consisted of rummaging through old T-shirts instead of playing baseball for a living) saw this as a chance to knock down the golden boy of Stillwater and steal some of his glory for ourselves.

Despite being naturally amped up because this was the first game of my Senior year in front of our home crowd, my adrenaline hit it’s peak when I saw Holliday step into the batters box after the first and second hitters grounded out.

Feeling good at my chances of at least getting out of the first inning unscathed I threw my 82 MPH heat right down the middle.  Obviously a mistake pitch.  You weren’t supposed to throw an 82 MPH meatball to Matt Holliday because he’d more than likely hit it right back through the back of your head.

Luckily for me the bat never left his shoulder.

“STRIKE ONE!” the umpire yelled.

I realized that I was INCREDIBLY lucky not to have a baseball shaped hole going through the middle of my face.  I tried to be a little more accurate on the second fastball…. but I pretty much accidentally threw the same pitch a second time.

Again, the bat never left his shoulder.

“STRIKE TWO!” the umpire screamed.

I was slightly confused because Holliday wasn’t swinging. I knew that I probably looked like an ant throwing a bowling ball to him because his natural talent and immense size dwarfed all of us regular peons. I was merely a stepping stone for this kid to walk all over with his giant, size 200 cleats! Why didn’t he swing at my 82 mph gifts? Regardless, I stepped on the rubber and prepared my final pitch.

The catcher called for a curveball.

I threw the curve.

What materialized out of this pitch was probably the worst curveball I’d ever thrown.  The minute it came out of my hand I knew it wasn’t right.  Its trajectory would put it in the general vicinity of the last two fastballs I had thrown… only much slower and easier to track.  This kind of curveball is called a “hanging” curveball.  Not exactly the kind of pitch you’d want to throw to a behemoth like Matt Holliday.

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“Let’s see what happens if I throw three pitches right down the middle”

As the ball headed right for the future Major League Baseball All-Star’s wheelhouse I imagined one of two things:

1.  He would hit the ball straight at me and it would shatter my testes into a million unintelligible pieces, or

2.  the ball would go down in history as being the furthest ball hit at our baseball field

Luckily for me, neither of those happened.

What I assume happened was that I surprised him with such a tailor-made pitch to deposit somewhere between home plate and the planet Pluto that he wound up swinging with every ounce of strength he had and completely missed.

Strike three.  Inning over.

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The look of shame

Matt Holliday went on to be drafted by the Colorado Rockies, played in the World Series, played briefly for the Oakland Athletics and eventually became a superstar who agreed on a contract worth $120 million to play in St. Louis.

And I got this really cool article:

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Suck it millionaire Matt Holliday

These days, while I’m digging for more cool tees to talk about on this blog, I think about Matt Holliday from time to time and wonder to myself, “Does Matt Holliday even remember being struck out by my skinny little punk ass?”

Quite frankly, the answer is, “Uh… hell no.” He’s too busy navigating around his jumbo-sized muscles to give a meaningless high school strikeout a second thought. However, what he doesn’t realize is that his ineptness to connect off any one of my pitches has given me a story that would make Uncle Rico proud.

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“How much you wanna bet I could throw a football over them mountains?”

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For more baseball and/or sports related vintage tees simply go to my eBay store, click “VTG Sports Tees & Apparel” under the categories section and choose what sport you’re looking for.

 

 

How Thin Is Too Thin?

Before you go kicking me in the solar plexus because you think I’m some chauvinistic Cro-Magnon man who prefers wafer thin supermodels who dine on three Triscuits at suppertime, I want to remind you this is a website about vintage tees.

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I’M THIN ENOUGH YOU CHAUVINISTIC CRO-MAGNON SONOFABITCH!!!

In the same way wrinkles on someones face show a well lived life, a tee that has survived its years and has become thin and threadbare would undoubtedly have stories to tell (if it had lips and a mouth and a brain and, well… all those things required to tell stories).

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Threadbare. It’s… it’s… so beautiful! *heavy breathing*

Now, you can go out today and buy a brand new threadbare tee that has been MANUFACTURED to be threadbare. But that would be cheating. Companies can now create tees (much in the same way “retro” is a vintage reproduction) that look and feel like vintage threadbare tees. Basically, you’re getting a T-shirt that didn’t put in its dues to earn a true threadbare title.

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30 years old is enough time for any T-shirt to earn its threadbare prefix (photo courtesy of my awesome Instagram account)

Luckily there is a place where you can find these authentic, paper-thin, threadbare vintage T-shirts on display and carefully outlined for public consumption.

“Where?” you ask.

Well, right here. (<—– shameless plug)

I directed you to my eBay store because I’m the only one (that I know of) to outline the “thinness” of every relevant shirt (“relevant” because not every vintage tee is thin or threadbare).

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See! I told you. (Click above image to see in store)

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Click above image to see in store

I do this because I feel as though Joe Consumer wants to know every aspect of what they’re buying (see Barb The Model for more relevance on this topic). I’m in the business of customer satisfaction, why wouldn’t I want to take as many pictures as I can and have fun at the same time?

In my quest for true vintage T-shirts, I’ve run by many threadbare tees but feel as it is my duty as a vintage T-shirt blogger to show you the thinnest shirt I’ve ever run across:

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Can you see it? It’s almost invisible…

Hell, I could even see through it:

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This tee could double as a niqab

So, in closing, how thin is too thin?

The answer: It’s never too thin. Unless it’s invisible

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Invisible T-shirt. Only 29.99 (plus $4 shipping)

Hi! I’m A Historical T-Shirt Preservationist

I’ve always struggled trying to tell people exactly what it is that I do. Usually, when I tell people “I sell vintage T-shirts on eBay” it is followed by them saying, “Oh, so do you print your own designs or what?”

*facepalm*

*facepalm*

No, man. No. Were you even listening to what I just said?

I’ve learned that most people just don’t understand and, well… that’s okay! “Vintage” is a MASSIVELY overused term. With so many modern day tees printed with that “vintage look” (i.e. “retro”) I think people get confused with the notion as to why someone would want to sell “old” T-shirts. Why not just print your own that are new but look old?

Well, maybe it’s for the same reasons why Mike and Frank of American Pickers enjoy picking through piles and piles of “junk” to find that airplane propellor or car battery sign.

Mike and Frank of American Pickers

It’s the history of the tees that fascinate me.

While I may never know the story behind the T-shirt itself or the person who wore it, I can research why it exists at all.

For example:

Click photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

This is an easy one. Everyone knows the story of OJ Simpson and his incredibly overhyped trial. It wasn’t long before anyone and everyone was trying to capitalize on it. Who knows how many were printed or how many still exist today. All I know is that I have one perfectly documented within the pages of eBay and that’s awesome. Now it just needs a good home (I’m looking at you Guy Who Buys OJ Simpson Trial Stuff).

How about this one:

Click above photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

I love this T-shirt because of it’s history. It was printed at the dawn of the age of video games. Sierra is best known for its multiple lines of graphic video games that started in the 80s and proved influential in the HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES. Sierra is now owned by Activision who is a major player in the video game arena. So, I assume this tee was probably provided to players of the antiquated games of the 80s (remember 80’s era 3D?). This isn’t just a cool tee, it’s a historical artifact.

Granted, not every T-shirt provides me with a history lesson, but many tees are wrought with emotion. Whether it be from a marathon, someone’s tour in Desert Storm or from an aerobatic airplane show (where the exact plane pictured on the tee eventually crashed into the ground killing the pilot) each shirt was bought or obtained for a reason! I can feel that reason. In the same way an archaeologist uncovers dinosaur bones and forever links himself to the dinosaur he found, I’ve found the same relationship with the T-shirts in my inventory.

This is more than just a job and more than just selling old T-shirts. It is preserving the past for others to experience.

That’s why I’m a Historical T-Shirt Preservationist.