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Leather Jacket Collecting on a Budget

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Coriu

One Too Many
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I thought it would be an interesting exercise to determine the average cost per jacket I have paid for all of the jackets in my collection, not including shipping. For me, the average is $290 per jacket. I only own 2 jackets that were purchased new (from Aero on sale). So, in a manner of speaking, I have never paid full price for a jacket. Only once have I purchased a used jacket over $500(a Langlitz).

I certainly don't have the best collection around, but I own at least one of most of the big names, and in many cases more than one.

I am a large man and rather difficult to fit, which has limited my ability to shop. Nonetheless, I am happy to say I have been disciplined enough to keep the majority of my selections in the $250-$400 range. And all of my jackets are in very good-excellent condition...inability to buy 40's/50's jackets kinda "helped" with that issue.

If one is willing to wear used jackets, is disciplined concerning your budget, and is patient shopping, one can build a great collection without breaking the bank. In my younger years, the thought of wearing used clothing that may contain cooties and/or may not fit me perfectly would have bothered me. I've worked to get past these irrational notions and life is so much more fun and affordable now. Who says you cannot teach a dog new tricks?

Collecting leather jackets has taught me a lot. I've come to appreciate the allure of used jackets. Sometimes they can be messy, but so is life. Accepting imperfection has helped my mental state as well as my bank account.

What is the average cost of the jackets in your collection, if you would be willing to share?
 

Kfz

New in Town
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40
I only have 3 leather jackets. 2 are new , 1 Schott 613S is slightly used for 1/2 new price, which is the Best Buy. So far average $700/per jacket. l will only keep 3 leather jackets at anytime. I have had too many hobbies: cameras , sports cars, high end audios,……who knows what’s next? So l have to keep each hobby at minimal . Cheers!
 

oneterrifichog

Practically Family
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795
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Signal Mountain, TN
Ok, here is my budget method of collecting leather jackets. About 20 years ago I applied what I deemed to be the best way to get decent clothing and collecting leather jackets. Number 1. Always by upscale jackets like Aero, Lost worlds Inc., Goodwear, Eastman etc. ( it guarantees a decent resale almost every time) Number 2. Wear the jacket for a year or two then sell and then buy again. Number 3. As one goes through ones business life or other collecting hobbies you make more money because as any Haberdasher will tell you "Clothes make the Man". Number 4. Buy 2 say one black Aero and one LW wear them for awhile and sell again. Keep this going and have fun adding some unusual styles that match your lifestyle and collecting maturity.

Over the years you may amass numerous jackets but if times get weird you can sell and make changes and usually breakeven then add another. Over the years the most jackets I have owned is around 12 but most times no more than 5. A few weeks ago a friend of my wife asked me how many jackets I have owned (worn); after about 4 or 5 days of reviewing photos and thinking " oh yeah I owned that LW J-27 Water Buffalo with the red check wool lining" forgot about that one I came up with about 38 Lost world jackets, 36 Aero, 5 Schott, 1 Goodwear, 3 Eastman and 4 Vanson over the last 20 years and enjoyed everyone of them while generally keeping the closet unstuffed with jackets and pretty much all on a budget of my own making without getting into the family income.
 
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handymike

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9,598
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SoCal
I stay away from “junk jackets” too, but I’m also extremely patient in my hunt. I love finding nicely-priced treasures (Bates/ Kehoe/ Brooks/ Walter Dyer) or ones that might need some attention. I tend to play in the $100-$200 range. I will go up for something special like my Lewis Leathers/ Thedi/ or my custom GW, but I’ve never paid over $1000 for any purchase. I relish when I get one for $17 or $25.
 
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Kenan

One of the Regulars
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107
While I’m fairly new in the game I did own and sell a few jackets and I learned a lot in the process.

I started out wanting an RMC J-24, but the price is so high that I figured that I would never pay that kind of money for jacket. Instead I went looking for other styles that would cost less and be of high quality. That made me buy a Schott 613S (steerhide) and a 618 (horsehide). For a while I liked the jackets, but never loved them. I also owned a Schott 603 Cafecto and a Simmons Bilt Pacific. I sold all of these jackets and ended up buying an Aero Classic Mc jacket and the RMC J-24. What I learned is that if you really want something, nothing else can replace that and you will end up buying it anyway.

My view on things now, is that I’d rather own a few really good jackets than spending less on each jacket and end buying more in the process. So save up some money. Buy less buy better :)
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
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4,717
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to determine the average cost per jacket I have paid for all of the jackets in my collection, not including shipping. For me, the average is $290 per jacket.
What's the point of knowing the average cost per jacket? Is this really a factor that's in play when deciding on whether or not to buy some particular jacket? I can't imagine it is.

How much I'm willing to spend on a jacket depends on a lot of factors like the maker, the leather, import costs etc etc. But not what I spend on average.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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1,144
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Virginia
What's the point of knowing the average cost per jacket? Is this really a factor that's in play when deciding on whether or not to buy some particular jacket? I can't imagine it is.

How much I'm willing to spend on a jacket depends on a lot of factors like the maker, the leather, import costs etc etc. But not what I spend on average.
It is important when it comes to my budget. When I began collecting, I wanted to establish a realistic target range for jackets to purchase.

I've proven to myself that I can build a nice collection targeting jackets in the $200-$400 range. There is no reason to spend more than $500 on a used jacket(I've only broken that rule once because finding a Langlitz for less is difficult). That is not to say I don't sometimes desire such a jacket, but I remind myself that if I am patient, there are plenty of nice jackets for less.

Unless one is wildly wealthy, I have found it helpful to develop target ranges for any sort of collecting I do and hold myself to those. It's all about knowing one's limits and staying disciplined. I know too many collectors who have started buying things that are really above there means and next thing you know, it has become the norm.

If one is disciplined enough to have a small collection, the "buy whatever you want" philosophy may work. But if one is the type who is looking for the next jacket before the last purchase has even arrived, one better have limits or it can lead to financial ruin. Seen it too many times. I know a guy now whose gun collection is worth more than his house.
 
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I am also not sure how average plays into this hobby.

If you need a leather jacket & aren't a collector, you will spend as much (or as little) as your budged allows. There's no average in this case.

If you are a collector, chances are you won't be piling up garbage jackets just 'cause they're cheap (then it's no longer called collecting, it's called hoarding) thus while low-priced gems are great, let's assume that any serious collector will pay whatever it takes to acquire their grail jackets.

So while deductible, I suppose, the average in both cases isn't really indicative of anything.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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I am also not sure how average plays into this hobby.

If you need a leather jacket & aren't a collector, you will spend as much (or as little) as your budged allows. There's no average in this case.

If you are a collector, chances are you won't be piling up garbage jackets just 'cause they're cheap (then it's no longer called collecting, it's called hoarding) thus while low-priced gems are great, let's assume that any serious collector will pay whatever it takes to acquire their grail jackets.

So while deductible, I suppose, the average in both cases isn't really indicative of anything.
The average cost per____ can be a rough reflection of someone's taste. I have two friends who are rabid pistol collectors. One has guns that average about $500 each and the other has pistols that average about $1000 each. Yes, the latter has VERY good taste. Unfortunately for him, he is a rabid collector with very good taste..a terrible combination that has already cost him one wife.

Maybe some folks on here don't consider themselves collectors. I think anyone who owns more than a few leather jackets is a collector. If not, I am not sure what one would call it, but it is not just your average Joe.
 

Edward

Bartender
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23,130
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London, UK
The idea of an average price is interesting. I can see how it could play into an overall budget strategy, i.e. spend less on these three, more available to spend on this big ticket item sort of thing. As it sits, though, I've tended myself to work to a ceiling price for an individual item. This can vary depending on how much I want a particular item, but there are plenty of brands whose product I like and yet have ruled out because they're more than I would be prepared to spend, based on available resources. Something that might play into my thinking here, though I don't know how to quantify its impact, is that I don't really consider myself a collector. I certainly have surplus to my needs if I'm being brutally honest, but it's all wardrobe: I don't buy anything I'm not going to get a decent amount of wear out of.
 

Marc mndt

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@Coriu following your 'average price per jacket' logic...

In your case the average is $290. Let's say you currently own five jackets, four of them were bought for $50 each and one for $40. Now you're going to buy a sixth. Does that mean your budget for the sixth jacket will be $1500? (because (1500+4*50+40)/6=290)

Sorry but I just don't get it. When I decide on buying a jacket, I really don't factor in prices of jackets I've bought previously. A ceiling price as mentioned above I can understand but the concept of average price doesn't make any sense to me.
 
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The average cost per____ can be a rough reflection of someone's taste.

But I don't think taste can be determined by a price tag - Or at least I wouldn't call it someone's taste, if it is limited by the amount of money someone is able or willing to spend.

My taste is limited exclusively to a handful of vintage leather jackets or a few new ones that cost $5K+ each and should life ever grant me an opportunity, I will more than happily spend thousands on clothes I truly want, rather than hundred on clothes that I can afford.

So yeah, my average spending budget doesn't really say much about me. . .

I mean, recently I bought a $120 jacket and a $850 belt so obviously, money didn't play a major role in either of these purchases. I just happen to love both items. Last year, I have bought a leather jacket for $2500 for the same reason.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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@Coriu following your 'average price per jacket' logic...

In your case the average is $290. Let's say you currently own five jackets, four of them were bought for $50 each and one for $40. Now you're going to buy a sixth. Does that mean your budget for the sixth jacket will be $1500? (because (1500+4*50+40)/6=290)

Sorry but I just don't get it. When I decide on buying a jacket, I really don't factor in prices of jackets I've bought previously. A ceiling price as mentioned above I can understand but the concept of average price doesn't make any sense to me.
Don't overthink it. The main purpose of this thread was to give newbies a sense of hope that I can play in this game without busting the bank. Think about this from the perspective of a person completely new to leather jackets with little concept of cost of these jackets. What price range should I consider? What is realistic? When I started, I had NO idea what that range should be...not a clue.

For me, part of the fun and challenge of collecting is limiting myself to what I spend and seeing what I can come up with. Based upon my taste and tolerance, I've established a basic target range(bracketed by the average price) that I rarely veer from. That range might be different for different people depending upon their budget, tastes, etc.

One thing I've learned from spending my life around collectors of many types...if one is willing to spend "X" today for something, they'll likely have no issue justifying it tomorrow if a nice shiny new thing comes along. Some are disciplined enough not to, but many aren't.

There may be some new people out there thinking, "I could never afford to collect leather jackets." And many likely could not if they buy new or splurge on $900 used jackets. But if patient and willing to buy used, you one could have 5 beautiful jackets in your closet for $1500.
 
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willyto

One Too Many
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1,408
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Barcelona
Something you learn is that you'd rather haver that special $1500 leather jacket than more than one that you just purchased because they were cheaper and were inside your budget.

Just because they were "cheap" I've bought way too many leather jacket I do not care for anymore. I'd have been better off saving that money and spending it on a proper one I desired. Putting up a barrier of like " I won't spend $1500 on a leather jacket" but spending $500 around 7 times is really stupid and I've made that mistake over and over.

Now I just have a collection of unworn leather jackets that I'm having a hard time selling off because I'm always wary about people being an ass as buyers and having to deal with that.

I have Aero, Eastman, Freewheelers, Himel, etc. and some of them are a disappointment now for one reason or another. I never paid full price and most of them are second hand, makes no difference, I compromised on the purchase because they were "cheap" and tried to made them work but they didn't.
 

zebedee

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1,574
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Shanghai
Leather jackets, 700 GBP. Non-leather, 120 GBP.

I wish I just had three of each. There is no real 'solution' to the problem. Collecting jackets on a budget brings a set of variables in that are too variable.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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1,144
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Virginia
Something you learn is that you'd rather haver that special $1500 leather jacket than more than one that you just purchased because they were cheaper and were inside your budget.

Just because they were "cheap" I've bought way too many leather jacket I do not care for anymore. I'd have been better off saving that money and spending it on a proper one I desired. Putting up a barrier of like " I won't spend $1500 on a leather jacket" but spending $500 around 7 times is really stupid and I've made that mistake over and over.

Now I just have a collection of unworn leather jackets that I'm having a hard time selling off because I'm always wary about people being an ass as buyers and having to deal with that.

I have Aero, Eastman, Freewheelers, Himel, etc. and some of them are a disappointment now for one reason or another. I never paid full price and most of them are second hand, makes no difference, I compromised on the purchase because they were "cheap" and tried to made them work but they didn't.
Enjoyed your post. I think what you have shared could be helpful for newer folks to consider.

Just curious, is there any common thread as to why you are disappointed with certain jackets now, ie flaws, fit, etc?
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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1,144
Location
Virginia
I agree with the previous posters that average cost is meaningless.

Not all my jackets are on file yet, but my current list has 66 of them, cheapest was 198Eur, most expensive was 2450Eur, average 833Eur per jacket.
The Average is misleading though as out of 66 jackets only 16 cost more than 850Eur, the vast majority of them where cheaper than 500Eur (30 out of 66), or cheaper than 300Eur (20 our of 66), but a few where far more expensive.

All that to say, anyone can get a leather jacket collection at any budget and not worry about average cause it means nothing.
Carlos, you are obviously wildly wealthy to own tens of thousands of dollars of leather jackets, so obviously you don't have to worry much about budget. The intent of this thread was to provide insights for the average Joe who considers a $500 jacket "expensive."
 

dwilson

One of the Regulars
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261
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LA
Wasn't planning on learning that typically median is a better measurement for these things than average from TFL
 
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Chicago
I think the notion of an average price is impossible. Unless you put a blanket over it. Average pre-owned/ vintage (under $1K, well maybe, depending on 8 billion specifics)

Average new $500-1k and up from there, depending on roughly another 8 billion things.

Her are two jackets that cost under $200 :
79C94ED0-8A50-407C-91FC-FAA117264E14.jpeg
6B9F046C-58CF-41F1-87AC-599D7B650C9E.jpeg

I could post tons more….
It would unfair and untrue to tell someone new to this hobby they will have the same luck, because in all likelihood, they will not. Based on scarcity of product, lack of “institutional knowledge”, and of course, pure dumb luck.

@Coriu, I have noticed that the majority of your threads/posts seem to be focused on the money spent in this hobby. To me, this is in poor taste. It’s not your business and I’m not sure why you care. This thread would’ve been better off with the premise: “best bang for your buck for the noob leather jacket aficionado”.

There are plenty of resources for that here.
 
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