T-Shirt Collectors…

Name: Leigh Valler

Current Population: between 200 and 300 shirts

First band shirt you bought and do you still own it:

The first band shirt I got was actually bought by my Mum for me in 1996 when I was 12. We got it from the Caribbean gardens market near Dandenong. My Mum, sister and I used to get to the market a few times a year, and it was a total treat. They used to have a unbelievable T-Shirt stall there. Looking back they were probably bootlegged shirts but it was all very impressive too me at a young age. It was a Dookie era Green Day ash grey Basketcase shirt. I still own it. It’s defiantly seen better days. And I also have plans to be buried with it when I go.

Latest addition to the Family:

The last few shirts I got where from A Revelation Records order. I wanted to treat myself so I ordered A few shirts. Better Than A Thousand Just One Shirt. Bad Religion How Can Hell Be Any Worse LP shirt, A fairly simple Inside Out shirt with the full photo from the 7” on the back of the shirt. And also I got the Classic Operation Ivy Energy shirt. Was well over due for that Operation Ivy shirt. And I also got a Foundation shirt which was a printed by the guys at Cabal, very badass design.


The Pride of the Fleet:

You can’t beat the classic’s. 7 Seconds Walk Together Rock Together yellow print on black shirt or Minor Threat Out Of Step white shirt would be my faves.

The Hen’s Tooth:

The rarest shirt I probably own is A Gorilla Biscuits long sleeve from the early 80’s/early 90’s.

Not Cheap:

Unlike records I’ve never really splurged on shirts. I think the most I’ve payed for a shirt is between $50-$60 and that was for A OG Judge longsleeve.


White Whale:

Even though I’m never really consciously chasing shirts I sometimes see shirts on eBay or even just people posting their own shirts on Instagram and it makes me drool. I would love a original Turning Point its always darkest shirt. Judge Storming through ’90 and 91’ tour shirts. Or any Uniform Choice Wishingwell Records shirts. They are all drool worthy in my opinion. Oh! And A full colour 7 Seconds Walk Together Rock together on A white shirt. They are rare but I’ve seen pics of people wearing them.

Why Did I Trade That:

I've never really felt the hurt of trading a shirt. Over the years Ive sold A couple, donated a few shirts towards worthy causes at shows and I have also traded a small handful away. The question that keep me awake at night is “why did you throw out that beaten up shirt when you where 16?” I threw out a Foo Fighters shirt that had a sick UFO design from the first album. I used to have a Au-go-go records long sleeve which disappeared. So it’s the shirts from when I was a teenager which I no longer have which haunt me the most. Hindsight ey.


Do you dare wear your rare shirts to shows and mosh in them?

I don’t mosh. I finger point and sing along. That’s the most amount of action you will see out of me at A show haha. I definitely wouldn’t wear a rare shirt to A show or mosh in it. I would cry if I witnessed A nice shirt get destroyed. I have A great Sick Of It All Just Look Around era long sleeve that I liked wearing at shows. But it’s getting frail. If I sneeze while wearing the thing it will defiantly disintegrate. Its now been retired from duty.

How do you feel about rare shirts with armpit stains?

They can always been cleaned up. If the shirt is baller people will look past some discoloration around the armpit area. I also wear old worn out 2nd hand band shirts that are now yellow that started their lives as white shirts. People point it out too me sometimes but I’m too busy being a legend and A free spirit too worry about proper washing of old cheap shirts. Adds character as well.


Bargain Buy:

Probably the Judge or GB long sleeves. Its crazy that some of these shirts go for hundreds of dollars, but people will spend huge amounts to secure these shirts. As the years go on original shirts will become more rare and harder to find in good condition.

Are old Australian hardcore shirts harder to collect then US ones:

Defiantly harder to come by old Australian hardcore shirts. It comes back to how many where printed at the time and how many people had the hindsight to keep the shirts over the years. Once in a blue moon I will be lucky enough to pick up some older Australian shirts from local champions. And I’m always siked when I get the opportunity to buy Australian hardcore shirts.


Are you a sucker or collector for any band or label in particular:

Not really. I never tried to just collect shirts from a particular band or label. If I love A band and love a particular design I will try and track down the shirt. I’m always impressed when I see kids collecting shirts of current bands that they love or older guys showing the world their collections of punk and hardcore shirts that they worked hard towards building up over time. I respect it.

How do you usually acquire your shirts?

A few different ways, A majority of the shirts I buy are from online stores. I buy shirts from shows. I also buy them from friends. I don’t buy that much from eBay it’s very rare that you can pick up a bargain in this day and age and with the Australian dollar being weak at the moment. And I buy a small percentage from the Rev board and older boards like Livewire B9 etc. When I first started buying shirts 0% where online. Didn’t have the internet. I used to buy a lot from record stores actually, but there aren’t a lot of record stores who stock shirts anymore. So that’s been the biggest swing in my buying behavior over the years from going into stores to buying online.


Bootleg prints. Do they devalue collections or add to them?

If it’s a original shirt and it’s from a popular punk or hardcore band and it’s in demand its still going to be worth A lot to someone out there. I believe the bootleg game doesn’t affect the original shirts value. Same sort of thing with records, an original press of a record from a popular band that’s rare and in damand isn’t necessarily devalued by a repress. A repress of a record is a great way for people to hear the music and access the lyrics and artwork, to get a physical copy in their hands and in their collections . And I guess A bootleg shirt is cool way to show the world what bands you enjoy listening to. I don’t want to fork out $300 for a original Uniform Choice shirt but I will gladly wear a $20 bootleg and spend the difference on picking up a kickass copy of screaming for change! It depends on what you choose to give preference too when it comes to parting ways with your hard earned cash.

What’s the absolute limit you would ever pay for a shirt?

It depends on how healthy my bank account is looking. If I was a millionaire I would be throwing money at shirts and records like a total fiend. If I had the chance to pick up a expensive rare shirt for a bargain I would probably pay up to $100. But in the past I haven’t really gone past the $60 mark.




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