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Buying-Selling-Collecting Leather Jackets: New-Old

tmitchell59

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Thought about this thread for some time. A thread like this was discussed this summer, but I just couldn't muster the energy to start it. Now I'm reaching that point again.

You can help me to get things started. I need to get my collection in order.

Who else collects? How do you approach it? Is it worth it?

Maybe I should just have a cocktail!

Lets talk
 

JMax

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Ok, so I have a handful of LW, a Vanson and an Aero to wear on the bike. Maybe do some traveling in. I don’t collect them. I just like some variety. I only own about 7 jackets in this category.

Vintage I do collect. MC jackets. I see something interesting, I do some research (maybe it’s already done) and I go for it. Many come and go but I do have about 15 now that are definite keepers. I won’t know if it’s a keeper until I receive it. Fit plays into it. I need to be able to wear them. I may try for a bit if it’s close though.

If it fits, then I ask myself— Does it speak to me in some way. The hide, the history, the cost to replace it later if I change my mind, etc., all could factor into whether the jacket stays.

For me— 60s and earlier. Prefer 40s and 50s. Police jackets of all types. MC jackets. I few half belts have been tempting but not enough…yet. Who knows.

Totally worth it to me. Especially now. I know what I want, better understand how different makers will fit me, am pretty good at spotting quality in vintage jackets without a label or can tell who the maker is, and I know the costs associated with different possible repairs that can pop up when buying vintage jackets. And I am always learning. Makes it a bit easier to jump in.
 

handymike

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I don’t want to be a collector, or admit that I have a collection of leather jackets, but there are about 10 in my closet :rolleyes:.
I really don’t want more than 5.
I love my vintage ones, but also love my 1 custom and my pre-owned but mostly-new Lewis Leathers.
I still look at ebay all the time, but after 10 years I know what I like. Many have passed through my closet and I’ve learned a lot AND had a ton of fun.
 
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tmitchell59

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Interesting how the Japanese have such a deep passion for Vintage leather jackets, mostly American. Yet, in American there is scant interest outside of Military jackets. The jacket books are produced in Japan with collections of jackets mostly in Japan. They certainly have the jackets and everything else that goes with it. Look at some of the vintage clothing websites and online resources, just amazing. I don't know anywhere else you can see this.

Why is that interest, that passion not here? Am I missing it?

I do not get a sense of Japanese buyers in todays vintage jacket market. I see the wave coming back on ebay. Pages of jackets out of Japan old new. This is new. Not exactly sure what it means. I don't see these jackets selling here. Typically overpriced for this market.

I am very focused now on missing piece jackets. Jackets that fit the puzzle if not me. I want both, but that is difficult.
 

Marc mndt

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My mission is to learn about different makers from different eras. The only way to learn is by handling jackets in the flesh, therefore I buy pretty much every jacket I think is worth buying. Which means it has to be a quality jacket (either construction quality or materials) and the design has to be interesting. As long as the price is right.

I'm currently going through a Schott Perfecto phase. First I bought a 115. Then a 613 and a 618. Steerhide and horsehide. Brand-new ones and vintage ones.

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What did I learn? A year ago I thought Schott Perfecto's were old mens jackets (because of fit) which were overpriced because I thought construction quality to be mediocre and the hides they use to be uninteresting. I've now learned that brandnew Perfectos are indeed not for me as the hides lack character. But I also learned that their patterns are the best in the business and that even though stitching might not always be laser sharp, overall build quality is high and the jackets are made to last.

I also discovered that the quality of the hides they used fluctuates throughout the years. Mid 90s schotts can be pretty bad but this mid 80s one is absolutely beautiful. Perfect fit too so this one is a keeper.

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In my quest to learn about Schott I also bought this one. A 50s horsehide Perfecto. Grail of grails.

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Unfortunately the seller backed out of the deal and the jacket was never sent. It was probably a scam, too good to be true. But I hope to find another one like this one day.

I move on most of the jackets I buy, only keeping the ones that I consider grail pieces. The keepers have to be my size plus they have to be in perfect condition (I don't want to worry about the jacket falling apart when wearing it).

Apart from buying second hand / vintage I also buy new. But I only buy new what I can't buy second hand. Eg I would never buy a brandnew ELMC
Californian because I know sooner or later a used one will pop up in my size somewhere. Therefore all my new jackets are custom made jackets. I like to do one custom project at a time, starting a new one after the current one has been completed. What I like most about brand new jackets is that I can witness the aging process. While braking it in the fit gets better and the hide develops character. My custom projects are special to me, they are one of a kind jackets which will never be sold.

My only problem is space. I can't store more than 50 jackets in the house so I also had to put a bunch in storage. Which isn't ideal because those can't be worn and enjoyed.
 

jonesy86

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Thought about this thread for some time. A thread like this was discussed this summer, but I just couldn't muster the energy to start it. Now I'm reaching that point again.

You can help me to get things started. I need to get my collection in order.

Who else collects? How do you approach it? Is it worth it?

Maybe I should just have a cocktail!

Lets talk
I collect leather jackets instead of having a cocktail.
 

Carlos840

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At around 70 jackets i think i fit in the collector category...

I have been collecting things as long as i have been alive, rocks, marbles, coins, stamps, cards, instruments, ratchets, spanners, musical instruments, leather jackets, it's just an integral part of who i am.

Regarding leather jackets, to me they are wearable art.
I would say my collection is similar to Marcs, it was a way for me to learn as much as possible about leather jackets, experiencing different leathers, different designs and different makers.
As to how i select them, i am not sure there is real reason behind the madness.
I don't really do vintage as i am too tall for 90% of what is out there.
I like motorcycle jackets, and i use them on the bike daily, i have a thing for D pockets as i find them super cool and practical.
I can't denie i have a thing for Lost Worlds, they are IMO the finest jackets ever built and i would love to have every single MC jacket design they make (I am close to having them all!) i also can't help but think that in 30 years LW will be one of these old mysterious brands like Leathertogs or Trojan...
 

jonbuilder

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I am a collector and like Jmax I search out and get excited about the 40s and 50s US leather jackets prominently motorcycle jackets, Maybe because I rode motorcycles as a teen and later from 40 to 70 years old. I also have 30s to 50s half belts and three vintage long jackets along with a WWII M-22. I own and have worn Aeros for twenty-five years and purchased many reproductions here and on the bay pre-worn but most have been traded away. When I rode I wore dedicatee made for riding leather jackets a Langlitz Cascade and a perforated Vanson sport rider. I had one jacket made for me by Johnson Leathers based on a Levi speedway that I have kept. Reproduction-wise, besides the speedway I have five Aeros and a one-off Himel.
I also have a collection of 12 pairs of vintage cowboy boots and 25 or so vintage Fedora hats.
I am not actively searching for anything presently and I do not have the same access to funds I did a couple of years back.
I do not have any itching holes in my collection, the one thing that can still get my heart rate up is an affordable vintage leather jacket
Good hunting
I almost forgot my John Chapman's first Broco A1 signed by John stating it is his first Bronco and I consider this a collectors jacket
 
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jonbuilder

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I collect leather jackets instead of having a cocktail.
When I get a new to me a vintage jacket that arrives at my doorstep, I go out to my back yard open a beer open the jacket sit down, and drink the beer. I do not have your view of the sun setting over the ocean, but I do have a nice garden to view.
Then it is only a matter of time before I seek out happy hour wearing the jacket a fedora and cowboy boots
 

AeroFan_07

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So back to Terry's original question, "How do I organize this collection?"

Personally, being in the engineering field, I would start with Microsoft Excel. Yes, I really said that on FL.

Make a spreadsheet of your jackets. I would include Manufacturer Name, Production Date (apx.), Jacket Type, Leather used, Lining, General condition, Size, Zipper/Hardware type, and perhaps even dimensions. You could add other columns of data as you like. Do the same thing for each one of you (many) jackets.

Then if you like, do a database such as what Carlos did with his jackets. Take staged, similar/identical photos of each one with neutral or bright white backgrounds. If you really want to go, 110% create a PowerPoint with each jacket having its own slide. Save all these files into a place on your PC (and backup hard drives) where your relatives will have ready access to them, if you want that.

Why do all this? So people close to you know what you have - and so the collection doesn't get all just sent to an auctioneer or estate sale someday. When any of us are no longer on this earth - who if anyone will know what these collections really are? Who will care? It's obvious Terry you have spent countless hours researching and procuring one of the finest collections of this type in existence anywhere. No one likes to think about his or her own non-existence, but it really is a good idea to consider this and having some, sort of established record would be very helpful to anyone handling your affairs at that point. If of course you would rather they not have access to this, there are ways to do that as well.

As for collections, and myself I collected electrical insulators when I was a child - they until around age 15 or so fascinated me. Then in college, I took the entire collection to a swap meet, sold all but 3 of them, and have never collected an insulator since.

Later I got into collection a few farm tractors toys, but that never really caught on for me. I still have 6-8 of these around.

I have presently 6-8 leather jackets, no vintage, three that were used and three new or made to fit me. I also struggle to fit into most vintage clothing. The total varies a bit, but I like to keep it small.
 

Canuck Panda

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Hoarder here. So far just different leather from different modern brands. Getting my first vintage jacket in the mail soon. I'm driven mostly by my own thirst to know more. The thing is after a few years of hoarding, I've only just realized I still know nothing. So, long road ahead.
Great thread, I was thinking where to post about few things in my mind but couldn't find the right thread to do it, this pretty much covers it all. More to come...
 

Canuck Panda

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Bought my first vintage jacket, from Etsy. I am sure I over paid for it, but I never do well at farmers market either.
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This Etsy seller has good return policy. So I am gonna do a return, instead of re-selling. I will lose on return postage, but this is part of the game.

I have to say though. This Kurland/Star jacket might been just a mall jacket in its day, and has thin leather, maybe 1mm tops. But the PATINA on this thing is out of this world good. Repro makers needs to repro this pattern, it's like an Indian Ranger but cooler.

My first Heritage jacket was an Aero cafe racer, which was also returned for a remake which I then sold here in the Classifieds. Online shopping is never easy. But the thing is, Catalogue sales has been around since the turn of the century, and online shopping is just a modern version of that really. Back then people didn't have forums to talk things over, just have to roll the dice and learn to make lemonade.

That's all for my buy/sell/collecting this week.
 
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Very good posts ITT on why people collect...

It was long overdue, but I have at last came to embrace my failure in this hobby thus I am giving up on it, these nice clothes in general. Truth be told, not that there is (much) to give up upon because in all these years, best I was able to acquire were crumbs off the table and occasionally, rarely, a piece that while it felt like a gem to me, was in reality simply not the most standard offering most TFL wouldn't give a second glance had they encountered it in a thrift shop.

And nothing has changed, no matter how much I tried to specialize in just one area that seemed like something I could, perhaps, work with; But the fact of the matter is, I can not and no longer will.

From my stand-point, there are two factors the success of this hobby entirely depends upon; Primarily money. And a lot of it. Which I do not have and never had and never will have, though that's okay. And secondly, location. The latter is negated by the former. But otherwise, these two handicaps combined... There's just no way.

I want(ed) a few really good Vansons, Schotts, LW's, some Japanese jackets and of course a bunch of vintage ones. Maybe even a collection!
In reality, since my registration here, absolute best I could do was one of each that I had to sell had I wanted to fund any of the others; None were new, all rarely ever in my size. The process was always the same. Leather, rinse, repeat.

It wasn't meant to be. But I was enriched in many other, unexpected ways that are much more important than any stupid dead animal skin accounts for so that's good! :D
 

Marc mndt

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From my stand-point, there are two factors the success of this hobby entirely depends upon; Primarily money. And a lot of it.
I disagree. Yes of course jackets aren't for free, but I know and you know great jackets don't necessarily have to break the bank. Think of that sheepskin perfecto you own with the nicest wear and patina in jacket history. Or the Brent perfecto you own (the one from @JMax ). Those are examples of inexpensive jackets that are high quality and look like a million bucks.
And secondly, location. The latter is negated by the former. But otherwise, these two handicaps combined... There's just no way.
True, it sucks to be in Europe. 1) local supply of used and new jackets is limited 2) import fees make it impossible to buy from abroad.
 

Carlos840

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I disagree. Yes of course jackets aren't for free, but I know and you know great jackets don't necessarily have to break the bank. Think of that sheepskin perfecto you own with the nicest wear and patina in jacket history. Or the Brent perfecto you own (the one from @JMax ). Those are examples of inexpensive jackets that are high quality and look like a million bucks.

True, it sucks to be in Europe. 1) local supply of used and new jackets is limited 2) import fees make it impossible to buy from abroad.

+1 on these damn import fees...
I just had to pay 80€ importing something worth £159! That has to be my most out of proportion import taxe payment yet, even with sellers accepting to declare low value importing things into the EU seems more and more unsustainable with all the extra fees they slap on things.
 

Mich486

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Eh… just got something from Sweden worth £340 and paid £136 of fees with DHL. It really isn’t helping anyone…
 

AeroFan_07

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First - my sincere apologies that you all in Europe have to pay such large fees on goods shipped over there. That really is an issue and indeed it is not helping the world out with exchange rates, etc.

@Monitor - I am discouraged by your post here. Please, go back and read some of your 14,385 posts so far and realize that you have been indeed an awesome, team player here! I know I for one have certainly learned a lot just reading your posts, gathering wisdom from your insights, perspectives, etc. You have contributed A LOT to this forum, and you have always taken a very fair, equitable stance with everyone. You have indeed done a lot of great research and have handled many more jackets that I have probably even seen in my lifetime. So, please don't be so hard on yourself here sir!

As for jackets & money - well, my $165 "Just Leather" CHP Cross-zip is indeed my favorite, go to, wear all day jacket now. I still have the others for now, but I just barely ever wear them. I mention this to show it's not all about money. It's really about what you are drawn to, what you enjoy, and what you prefer to wear. Oh sure, I see some much more expensive jackets out there that are appealing to me, then I put on the JL again and I forget about them.

One more point - in the USA - at least where I have traveled, most of the leather jackets one often found in vintage, thrift or resale shops have all but dissappeared. We've all heard of the "baling" of jackets, which I think started many years back to send overseas. Now it seems other entities have seen the light of profit to be made, and are doing something similar in country. I have found several at places like "Ragstock" but they are often so creased and wrinkled as to be un-repairable. So we're seeing very few opprotunities for inexpensive leathers second hand outside of ebay, esty, etc.
 
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Some of my favorite online shopping moments are when I naively buy something categorized as an item coming from Europe, that's actually located in either Norway or Switzerland and it is usually far too late when I realize I have to pay tax and duties the same I would've had had I ordered from Kafiristan.
 
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