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Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by gzmavian, Mar 13, 2019.
Not the same animal
Also not $3500.
I had always assumed Rin Tanaka was responsible for vintage Buco values. In his 2006 book "Motorcycle Jackets: A Century of Leather Design," he calls the J-24 "the perfect motorcycle jacket" and "the coolest motorcycle jacket of this century." Of the J-21 and J-22, he writes "Its [sic] design and shape are among the 'best of the best' in leather jacket history."
Perhaps Tanaka is responsible for the Buco mystique but you guys make some other very good points. It would be interesting to know Buco values before and after the book was published.
I live in the Detroit area, only a short drive away from the site of the former Buco manufacturing facility. I've been in the habit of scouring local thrift stores, vintage clothing stores, resale shops and estate sales in an ongoing quest to find cool items to wear or resell. Of the Detroit brands, I've found Brooks, Kehoe and lots of crappy 1970s Reed jackets. Not once have I come across a Buco. Only seen them in photos. I keep thnking there must be some out there somewhere. Maybe one day I'll hit paydirt!
I paid $600 for my J 100 size 46 15 years ago. Leather and hardware were excellent showing very little wear. The lining was fared at the neck and cuffs. I had Johnson Leathers of San Francisco replace the lining with black nyon. During the past 15 years I have worn this jacket more than all my other 20+ jacket combined. The jacket is the right weight for San Francisco wear three months of the year. The J 100 has beautiful drape is long in the body with nice clean lines. During the past 15 year the dye has worn through at the shoulders and arms. A different look than the clean black of 15 years ago but still gets compliments from people who never heard of Buco
I have four Buco jackets and fell their value stems more from intrinsic quality than Rin Tanaka
As JB pointed to above...I remember around 2003-2005 seeing them routinely sell for around $500 or (gasp!) LESS. Meanwhile around that same time I paid $800 for a mint condition Bates two pocket CR (it would never fetch anywhere near that today).
I was able to pick up a couple of lesser known models of buco jackets in prime condition size 46 for less than $300, an J 71 with original brown tag and an olive green-gray sport jacket off the bay 10 years back steerhide blue label. These were when the bay was still mostly an auction
Size makes a difference in price. Size 46 and 44 seem to me to more rare; supply and demand finding balance determine price
MKS J 100 jackets are related to Buco J 100 jackets only by the use of a Buco label; MKS purchased the Buco name. I had a MKS J 100; I was very disappointed when I received the jacket. It was shiny and felt nothing like the rich steerhide of my Buco J 100. I did a google search of MKS and determined MKS used vinyl to make the J 100 they sold with a Buco label. I turned the MKS jacket on the bay for a scratch.
Knowing now what I do about ebay, I would have return it for being "not as described", the jacket was not leather. I do not remember the source of my google review and anything is possible I could be misinformed.
You are right about size. Seems like all the classic vintage jackets presently for sale are 36 - 40. The larger sizes were worn out and buried. I did see a couple of larger size Buco and Harley Davidson spotster white label jackets on ebay this past year which sold at the higher end of the spectrum as you mentioned.
That's interesting. Mine is leather. It's not particularly thick, but it's nice, like a "racing shirt" kind of thickness.
I've owned one Buco. A steerhide police jacket that is still being worn by a member here. Never owned a J 100. I've had many of the same questions about their value and quality. Especially when you can purchase many nice Cafe jackets for much less.
Given that I do believe that vintage Buco are more than hype. Hype can't fool the market for that long. Other makers saw something in the Buco design that interested them enough to reproduce them.
I don't follow Buco prices that closely. Just get on ebay and start watching and you will figure out a real value.
I do recall a Buco J-100 on eBay back in 2010. It had the 1950's label "Detroit, Michigan", and it was horsehide and all original, wonderful wear and patina - Gorgeous! I tried to talk the sell down from $1600 and he would not budge. . . and you know the rest of the story . . .
Horsehide J100s are rare I only remember seeing one on ebay about the time I purchased my J100. It was lacking a lining
I don't get it either, they look like a Brooks or similar era jacket you could pick up for nothing, or you could get a better quality new jacket that looks just like it for less. I could understand if there was no modern analog or equivalent but outside of that...hell no. To each their own I guess.
Thats because Brooks copied the J-100 design created by Buco. Buco originated the iconic J-100 design that has flourished for decades and inspired countless reproductions and copies that continue through the present day. The fact that Buco is the originator of the seminal design is, IMHO, a significant factor driving the value of the vintage J-100 jackets. People naturally covet the original far more than its progeny of imitators (regardless of the quality of the imitators). The value of the Buco name is illustrated by the multiple current manufacturers that incorporate the Buco label into their repro jackets -- some, like RMC, even pay licensing fees for this privilege (Aero, RMC, DD, and others all use the Buco label as a homage to the originator of the influential design). This reverence exhibited by current manufacturers further drives the pricing of the original jackets that inspired the current models.
Separately, Buco jackets are generally well made in comparison to the competing manufacturers of the time. I have handled some similar jackets from the same period that were palpably inferior. To be clear, I am not suggesting that Buco was the "best" of the time, nor that no one else also made quality jackets during the era. Rather, I am merely pointing out that Buco was and remains a quality product, albeit surpassed by modern day repro manufacturers.
Condition and size are critically important to the value of a Buco J-100. Small sizes are far more abundant. Torn, ragged jackets are easier to find and much less expensive. If you want a size 44 in very good condition, you have few options and must pay a higher price. That was the challenge during my search. I found many small and/or thrashed jackets. I needed a larger size and I insisted upon good condition. Consequently, I had to be patient and pay a premium, albeit much less than the RRL premium.
Lastly, there is undeniably a "mystique" surrounding the Buco name that was fueled in part by the Rin Tanaka book. On the other hand, it is ultimately all about supply and demand, and the Buco "mystique" is not the sole basis for the current pricing. There are genuine, tangible grounds for the pricing that transcend the mystique, including that Buco originated an iconic design that has flourished and inspired for decades.
Ps: I recognize that at least one other brand can make a claim to a contemporaneous design similar to the J-100, but the fact remains that that brand is not credited with the seminal J-100 design.
I much prefer the Brooks version which to my taste tweaked the pattern significantly and enhanced the look.
Hasn't interest in worn period cafe racers come and gone? Don't think I'd pay more than $300-400 for any old cafe racer.
I have seen several J-100's without linings and with the small size label sewn in. They were actually factory made and marketed this way. I don't understand the concept but they're out there.
Originally leather jackets came without linings - they were called leather shirts, especially in this style.