Selling Vintage TShirts

Vintage Star Wars T-Shirt

Selling Vintage T-Shirts


Selling vintage T-Shirts can be very profitable, and most people don’t know how much they can be worth.We provide tips for finding vintage T-shirts at garage sales and thrift stores, and how to tell originals from modern copies.

vintage adidas shirt

This is a Great Vintage T-Shirt for Two Reasons: Adidas is a Very Popular Brand, and the “Ringer” Sleeve and Collar Look is also Hot.

Selling Vintage TShirts: How to Make a Quick $100.

The Top 5 Things to consider when buying vintage T-Shirts and selling vintage T-shirts online:

  1.  Original garments are always worth more than imitations.  Learn how to identify vintage T-shirts and the methods used to imitate them.  More details will be provided shortly.
  2. Know what is popular.  Do your research.  What are people buying on eBay? Search completed eBay listings in the vintage clothing category.  If you have never surfed there, you will be shocked.   There are a lot of vintage T-shirts that  have sold for over $500. Some of them are not even that old.  You CAN find this stuff at garage sales and thrift shops occasionally.
  3. You can find A LOT of $15-20 T-shirts at garage sales and thrifts.  Look at what has been selling on eBay for $10-20.
  4. Part of the allure of original vintage Ts is the cool broken-in look.  The Tshirts can be fairly worn, the graphics can be cracked and faded, and the short can still be worth a significant amount of money.  Learn what is acceptable and what is not.  Stains, stretched out collars and strong smoking odors can make your T-shirts difficult to sell.
  5. You must be able to think like a fan and collector.  Why do people buy T-shirts? Right.  Either they think the T-Shirt looks cool, they are showing support for what is on the graphics, or both.  The subjects that sell well are those that people have strong feelings for:  Music, Cult Favorite TV shows and movies, Brands with fanatical followings like Harley Davidson Adidas and Nike, Sports Teams, College Gear, and T-shirts that are representative of a certain era.
  6. This is repeated in many pages in this website:  It does not matter if YOU like the T-Shirt, because you are selling vintage Tshirts to other people!  You are buying the shirt for those people.  I buy lots of stuff that I would not be caught dead wearing.



kiss tshirt grateful dead tshirt

Vintage Rock and Roll T-Shirts are Always Winners, especially Cult Favorites like KISS and the Grateful Dead! Watch for Modern Reproductions.  Original 1970s-80s T-Shirts can be Worth over $100, while Re-Makes like These Sell for About $10.  Still, $10 is Not Bad, if You Find “Fakes” at a Garage Sale for $1, or Less.



Selling Vintage TShirts: Garage Sale Clothing


Garage sales and yard sales vary greatly in how used clothes are priced.  You can visit some sales and get great prices on used clothes that should be priced much higher.  For high-end vintage T-shirts, it really doesn’t matter whether you got the shirts for 25c or $5.  You are going to make a killing.  But, where it does matter, is when you are selling vintage Tshirts for $8-15.  You need to get these items for cheap.  Try to get them for under $1.

Don’t be too quick to spend money at garage sales.  Make sure that you find a good garage sale, where you can buy items at low prices.  Learn how to barter with people.  You can often get prices reduced, or bundle a bunch of items into one lower price.Unlike thrift stores, used clothing at garage sales have not been checked over to see if they have holes, stains, etc.

You have to check them closely for condition issues.When selling vintage Tshirts, it is important to find items that people want to buy, but it is also important to ensure that the condition is good enough so that clothes don’t get returned, or result in negative feedback to your eBay account.


Selling Vintage TShirts: Thrift Store Clothing


  • Thrift Stores are great because most thrift store clothes are not individually priced.  That means there ARE going to be bargains galore, including clothes to sell on eBay.  T-Shirts are almost always the same price for the entire rack.
  • Clothes are priced to move inventory.  They are not priced for profit margin.  You just have to be there when the good articles get put on the racks.  Most T-shirts are priced at $1.99 to $2.99, so your profit margin will be lower than shirts from garage sales.
  • Try to get the clothes during the ‘50% off’ sticker days.   Many thrift stores have colored  price stickers, and each week a new colored tag is 50% off.

    thrift store shopping

    Thrift Shops Have Racks Full of T-Shirts. There are Always Good Vintage T Shirts to Find!

  • Get to know thrift store employees and managers.  You might get tips on when a bunch of high-end clothes are going to get put on the racks!
  • Research, research, research. Know what used clothes to buy, and which brands are worth the most.  You can also find some really cool vintage T Shirts and vintage suits and dresses at Thrifts.  They always do well when selling used clothing on eBay.
  • I find cool vintage T-shirts almost every time I go to Goodwill stores. The Amazon links to the right were found last week there.  Some T-shirts that I routinely find that sell well: Rock Concert T-shirts (especially bands that most shoppers don’t recognize), 90s shoe company T’s (these sell great), vintage video game T-shirts, and vintage beer and liquor T’s


How to Identify Vintage T-Shirts:  Tips on Telling if a T-Shirt is a Modern Reproduction


tie dye tshirt

“Retro” Vintage T Shirts are Always Popular, but Authentic Period Garments are Worth Much More.   This is a Modern Reproduction.

There are several ways that can help you to tell the difference between a true collectible vintage T-Shirt, and a modern reproduction:

  • The biggest difference is in the appearance of the graphic itself.  Sharp, bright colors are often the work of modern T-Shirt printing machines.  Vintage T-Shirts were made using a screen-printing process, where the graphic is affixed to the shirt. You can feel the difference in a rubbery screen printed graphic and a modern repro printing.
  • The shirts also feel different. Pre-1990s T-Shirts were often 50/50 poly/cotton blends.  Modern repros are often 100% cotton, and are heavier weight material.
  • Look at the tags.  Anything with a “tag” that is printed on the T-Shirt itself is a newer T-Shirt.  Also, older tags are usually wrinkled or twisted. They look old, even if they were not worn much.


Selling Vintage T-Shirts on eBay and Etsy


  • Almost every style of clothing that has ever been popular makes a comeback at some point.  Vintage clothing can be very collectible and profitable.
  • Look at what famous people are wearing. That’s right, vintage clothing is very popular, especially T-Shirts.  Many rock and roll and pop stars wear vintage clothing and T-Shirts when on stage.
  • Vintage T-Shirts typically sell for the highest price in the Clothing:Vintage:Unisex and T-Shirts Category. However, $10-20 T’s may sell faster in the Men’s or Women’s Clothes categories.
  • Search, search, search on eBay Completed Listings in the Vintage Clothing and T-Shirts categories.  You CAN find this stuff at garage sales and thrifts. You just need to research what sells at any given time.  Know what brands are popular, and what styles people are looking for.
    Iron Maiden Tshirt

    1980s Heavy Metal T-Shirts Like This Iron Maiden T-Shirt are Iconic.  Similar Original T-Shirts Have Sold for Over $500 on eBay.

    I am not going to list particular styles, because they change continually.  Look at what is popular and look for those styles.

  • Make your listings visually appealing. People are going to buy or bid based on photos, not descriptions.  Give multiple views of your garment, and give them a good background.  If this is going to be your “gig”, find a model to wear your T-Shirts for photos, or you may opt to use a mannequin. At the least, iron your shirts and hang them from a hanger or lay flat.  MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LOOK GOOD.
  • Give good item descriptions. Note any defects. DO NOT RISK NEGATIVE FEEDBACK TO MAKE A COUPLE OF BUCKS.


Article Name
Selling Vintage T-Shirts
Learn selling vintage Tshirts from Eric Michael, author of Almost Free Money. Vintage T-shirts can sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Learn what to look for and how to list them.
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