Pros/cons of buying antique shoes (40+ years) shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by MillionaireTeacher, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. MillionaireTeacher

    MillionaireTeacher Senior member

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    (With electric guitars, older ones from the 1950's made use of better wood, better trees of the time. They are handmade vs mass produced. You literally can't make them like they used to. Today's use younger trees, etc. Also, the older/aged wood makes the guitar sound better) Assuming they are mint/brand new....(found in a warehouse/storage, hidden in dead man's closet) are very old shoes worth a premium, if in new condition? Or, are they to be avoided? What if they appear to be polished/clean? Major caveats? Could they be damaged beyond repair? (they crumble upon first wear, mold, etc) Are certain materials acceptable? eg: If a new pair of shell cordovan goes for $500+, what would an antique pair go for, in broad generalities? Would like to hear your impressions/experiences. If the "look" is all the same, is there any advantage to buying vintage
     


  2. gdl203

    gdl203 Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Con: it's disgusting
    Pro: you may like that
     


  3. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    Unless you are starting a museum, 20 years is about my limit
     


  4. IBJanky

    IBJanky Senior member

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    I recently bought a pair of new old stock Weyenberg Massagic shoes from a SF member a few months back. They are probably from the 1940-1950's and are in mint condition.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I still haven't worn them to this day... way too pretty to hit the pavement [​IMG]

    myke
     


  5. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos In Time Out

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    (With electric guitars, older ones from the 1950's made use of better wood, better trees of the time. You literally can't make them like they used to. Younger trees, etc) Assuming they are mint/brand new....(found in a warehouse/storage, hidden in dead man's closet) are very old shoes worth a premium, if in new condition? Or, are they to be avoided? What if they appear to be polished/clean? Major caveats? Could they be damaged beyond repair? (they crumble upon first wear, mold, etc) Are certain materials acceptable? eg: If a new pair of shell cordovan goes for $500+, what would an antique pair go for, in broad generalities? Would like to hear your impressions/experiences. If the "look" is all the same, is there any advantage to buying vintage

    Unless they have historical significance or are collectors' items, vintage clothing pieces generally sell for less than their modern-day counterparts. This is not because vintage items are seen to be of inferior quality (often they're of better quality, though not always). It's because vintage items have so many uncertainties attached to their provenance. You have no idea who first wore the item, let alone how many subsequent owners may have. You have no idea how the item was stored or maintained. You have no idea what the item's real condition may be until you quite literally walk a mile in its shoes.

    You have no idea if...well, you get my point. There are many unknowns and uncertainties, i.e., lots of risk. This is especially true of vintage clothing made of organic materials, given that all organic materials have a finite lifespan of some sort. Even unworn shoes aren't going to last indefinitely.

    Comparatively speaking: when you buy something new, you're paying a premium for the assumption that the item is at the very beginning of its lifespan. When you buy something vintage -- even if it doesn't appear to have been used -- you're still buying it second- or third-hand. And you pay less accordingly.
     


  6. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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    I recently bought a pair of new old stock Weyenberg Massagic shoes from a SF member a few months back. They are probably from the 1940-1950's and are in mint condition.

    ....

    I still haven't worn them to this day... way too pretty to hit the pavement [​IMG]

    myke


    Myke, you are doing those a disservice by not wearing them ... good shoe should be worn ... just topy them if you think the leather soles will be worn too soon. But please, for the love of JEEBUS, wear those shoes.

    (and post a pic)
     


  7. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    I recently bought a pair of new old stock Weyenberg Massagic shoes from a SF member a few months back. They are probably from the 1940-1950's and are in mint condition.

    I still haven't worn them to this day... way too pretty to hit the pavement [​IMG]

    myke


    Great shoes, but are you sure of their age? I find that most people overestimate vintage shoe age by 2x or more
     


  8. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Dry rot can be a concern. Old shoes can rip into pieces when worn. You never know how they've been stored, and how those conditions will affect the leather.

    Other dangers: Rubber soles are prone to crumbling with time, and cemented shoes may well peel apart. I've even seen non-leather shoes (from the '70s) dissolve into an oil-like goo.

    If you're considering buying vintage, make sure they're from a quality maker. If they feel "off" in any way, I'd leave them on the shelf.
     


  9. tsaltzma

    tsaltzma Senior member

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    I recently bought a pair of new old stock Weyenberg Massagic shoes from a SF member a few months back. They are probably from the 1940-1950's and are in mint condition.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I still haven't worn them to this day... way too pretty to hit the pavement [​IMG]

    myke


    Wow, thanks for sharing that. It's funny because I saw a very similar pair from them, but they really looked like they had been worn 50 years. I'm not sure what some people are thinking when they donate stuff, or try to sell at a vintage shop. You can find gems, but then you find the piece that looks like it should have been thrown in the fireplace 25 years ago.
     


  10. kolecho

    kolecho Senior member

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    I recently bought a pair of new old stock Weyenberg Massagic shoes from a SF member a few months back. They are probably from the 1940-1950's and are in mint condition.

    [​IMG]


    myke



    Nice classic design!
     


  11. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    I agree with the 20 year limit on this. Unless you are purely sentimental about something older and just want to have them as an ornament, there is little other purpose to buying vintage shoes for the reasons mentioned above. Anything old can also smell quite musty if they were stored in a basement or other humid conditions, and you'll never get that smell out. Buy shoes to wear them.
    I'm suprised to see sometimes the prices people will pay on Ebay for vintage shoes, and I'm fairly certain they are beginners who don't know better.
    Those old deadstock pair posted previously are in seemingly wonderful condition, though I wonder if they will take the pounding when worn. I would also like to see photos of them in action.
     


  12. IBJanky

    IBJanky Senior member

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    Thanks for the kind words gentlemen...

    I still cannot get myself to wear those shoes. The worst part is that they fit my feet like a dream...

    It's just so cool to have something so old in mint condition. The shoes have NEVER hit the pavement, so they are practically in new condition.

    And it's not like I have a shoe shortage... I have other quality shoes in my closet that I can wear, so I'm really not in a rush to wear these vintage ones.

    myke
     


  13. zoorado

    zoorado Senior member

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    Unless it has not been worn and has been well taken care of, vintage shoes are actually quite iffy with regards to what may be growing in them. That said I've seen shoes by nikolaus tuczek and poulsen, skone & co in literally new condition on Ebay from time to time. Of course the prices were very high for shoes of their age.
     


  14. cold war painter

    cold war painter Senior member

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    (With electric guitars, older ones from the 1950's made use of better wood, better trees of the time. You literally can't make them like they used to. Younger trees, etc)

    I used to collect and still have a few vintage Fenders. Guitars and clothing/shoes are very different I think - the wood of guitars improves over time as it dries further, and the old materials are not all available now as you say.

    Another big difference is that guitars made these days are mostly a hobby/consumer electronics item. Even the new stuff claiming to be made to the old standards is only approximate and most guitars are completely factory made with profit margin being the main driver. The same pressures exist in clothing to an extent but with a larger consumer base there still seems to be profit in working with more traditional methods that appeal to the minority .. i.e. SR tailors still exist whereas if Fender tried to go fully back to old manufacturing methods and price themselves accordingly they would be out of business pretty quickly.
     


  15. meister

    meister Senior member

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    Most SFers know me for my vintage shoe collection.

    Here are my thoughts on the issue of buying vintage shoes.

    PROBLEMS

    As alluded to by Doc H dryness and rot are the biggest issues - predominately around the heel area which is the thinnest and most exposed to air area. I get my cobbler to install an invisible leather strip inside the heel area which fixes that problem. Even minor splitting is not a problem.

    I then use a few apps of Pecards to cope with vintage ageing.

    Nevertheless I bought a NOS pair of spade soles Crosby Squares from the late 30s/40s recently that are in perfect condition.

    I have 2 pairs which are so wonderful and unique being NOS that I think am going to donate them to the Powerhouse Museum shoe collection in Sydney.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/collectors/...s/s1711528.htm http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/m/home.php


    Here is a pair of ventilated spectators by Crosby Square from the 1930s/40s = perfect condition
    [​IMG]

    A pair of spade captoes (size 7.5D) by Crosby Square from the 1930s/40s = perfect condition.

    [​IMG]

    Generally when you buy vintage shoes you know what to look for but obviously the immediate appearance of the conditon of the shoes and the insides are a consideration. Obvious rot and flaking and dryness will be apparent. Heavy footbed use is another.

    IMHO most of the vintage shoes (genuine like 40s/50s) on eBay seems to be worn infrequently if ever - maybe to church on Sunday.

    Look at my 10.5E companion pair of Weyenberg Massagics to IBJanky above - so little wear. I wear them at least once a fortnight in my rotation (like 20 pairs!):

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    From there it is pot luck

    JOYS

    The point about vintage shoes is the style and finish of them and their unusualness and comfort.

    That is the attraction - otherwise buy the modern variety or get MTO.

    I intend to get some of my vintage shoes that fit perfectly copied further down the track.
     


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