What do Larry Byrd, Kurt Cobain & my teenage son have in common? Their choice of footwear!
More about attitude than athletics, Converse has long been the shoe of choice for outsiders everywhere. Once the favorite footwear of famous basketball players, Converse shoes have for years, been the symbol of edgy anti-consumer consumers, outsiders, punk rockers, and vaguely disenfranchised teen aged boys. To celebrate its 100th birthday last May, Converse brought out special editions of the All Star and the Black Fives models, commemorating the anniversary of the rubber soled work shoe first designed by Marquis Mills Converse in Boston in 1908.
Special Issue Shoes for Collectors
The special issues included a $200 version of the Black Fives, the brown leather classic worn by the legendary Harlem Renaissance basket ball team in the 1930’s. Also available will be an anniversary issue of the All Stars. These shoes were a tribute to the memory of Chuck Taylor, a player and salesman who sold the original All Star High Tops out of the trunk of his car.
Kurt Cobain Tribute Chucks
Also released in May 2008, was a series of All Stars and One Stars with a facsimile Cobain signature, accompanied by excerpts such as “punk rock means freedom” taken from Cobain’s journals. The new Cobain Converse were originally released at a cost of between $50-$65. Converse (which was purchased by Nike in 2003) expected the shoes to be purchased (but never worn) by collectors, and prices to rise accordingly. A check on eBay indicated that the Cobain shoes are holding at the original price. The real collector money seems to be in authentic vintage Chuck Taylor’s from the 1950’s and 60’s.
Vintage Chuck Taylors are Value All-Stars
Who would have guessed that the sneakers my 12 year old brother wore playing first base in pickup games would be valuable 40 years later? An eBay search for Vintage Chuck Taylors turned up shoes that sold for anywhere between $160-430. While the highest prices went to never worn shoes in their original boxes, a surprising number of pairs with wear brought what might be considered a lot of money for used sneakers, so check your closets!
Keep in mind, however, that regardless of how sellers list their shoes, buyers do not consider shoes from the 1980’s to be vintage, and that a “Made in USA” stamp is not an indication of older shoes, as the last US factory closed as recently as 2001.