THE INS AND OUTS OF DECK COLLECTING

June 7, 2022/ / ARTICLES/ Comments: 22

Collecting skateboards is a pain in the ass. Boards are heavy, you need a lot of space to store them, and they will happily catch fire if your house ever burns to the ground. But that hasn’t stopped a small group of hardcore collectors who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours finding and preserving iconic boards from the past. We’re not talking about your average skater who has a couple of old scratched-up decks lying around in the garage, we’re talking about the big fish – the guys who could put a downpayment on a house if they were to liquidate their collections.

As we have very little experience ourselves collecting decks at that level, we hit up three collectors to learn the basics and how they found themselves deep down the rabbit hole. If you ever wanted to reclaim a piece of your childhood and cop that elusive Muska deck or Think board you saw in a CCS catalog, hopefully, this guide will be a solid place to start.

Happy Hunting!

Dave Skoot

How long have you been collecting, and how much have you spent on decks so far?
I’ve been collecting seriously now for the last six years, but my love for certain graphics started when I first started skating. I don’t really like to talk about money but hey, this is Jenkem, right? So let’s just say I have over 600 boards. Most of them are worth over $400, some a $1000, and I didn’t pay anything close to that for any of them. Also being single with no kids at 42 allows me to indulge more than your average collector.

If someone were to get into collecting decks, where would one start?
Some people hate eBay but I’ve had nothing but amazing luck on there! The thing is, you have to check every day, even twice a day. I also love Facebook collectors groups because you are dealing with fellow collectors who are not looking to get rich off each other.

How do you figure out deck pricing?
Getting to know the right prices is just like anything else, it takes a little time and observation. It usually breaks down to rareness, age, artist, rider, and company. Any combination of those variables will produce desire and value but it also changes from collector to collector. For example, I collect boards that give me a feeling of nostalgia for the time I started skating in the early 2000s. Because a lot of my guys feel the same way it makes these boards highly collectible and therefore valuable, at the moment.

Are there one or two “whale” collectors that everyone knows about?
Oh for me it’s Tim Anderson, aka Bobshirt. Him and his amazing wife started the charity Deckaid. His collection is so huge and amazing that they put on traveling gallery shows with his boards covering the walls. It was at one of his shows that I knew I wanted to start collecting. So to me, it gets no bigger than Tim …he’s my Yoda.

How many buyers and sellers do you think are actually out there?
Oh wow, that’s a tricky one because just when I think I know everyone someone pops up with an amazing collection I’ve never seen. That being said I’d say the scene is less than a quarter of the number of people who skate, but almost every skater has a favorite pro and they might have one of their boards on their wall that they can bring to market at any time. So it’s tricky, dude.

What do you focus on collecting most?
I focus mainly on my favorite artist and brands from the early ’90s to around the ’10s. I love Chocolate, Girl, and Anti Hero because the art direction and artists they used during that period were just amazing. They just drip with those nostalgic vibes to me. Artists like Evan Hecox, Tony Larson, Andy Jenkins, and Todd Francis combined with style masters like Gino Iannucci, Paulo Diaz, Stevie Williams, and Keenan Milton just spark memories, and inspiration that says so much without saying a single word.

What are the most expensive or sought-after decks? What’s the holy grail?
Lately, it’s the boards and series that are done by artists like Evan Hecox and Don Pendleton that have been bringing in the highest prices. A seven-board series was selling in the high four-digit. I’ve talked to people paying these prices and they say it’s all about that nostalgic feeling for them too.

Do you ever worry about rare decks being re-issued and their value going down?
[laughs] Yes at times I have, but with most collectibles, having the first edition of anything is always going to bring the most value. This is why collecting for the love is better than for money, but I wouldn’t want them to just reissue everything because the hunt for these rare Holy Grail boards is my favorite part of collecting.

What’s something for a first-time collector or buyer to look out for? Any tips?
I always tell new collectors to make sure it’s not gripped – that’s like a sticker on a Ferrari. Get plastic storage bags. I actually have a saying, “Wood 2 wood: no good! Wood 2 Plastic: FANTASTIC!” The only time you will get scuff marks is when the boards have direct wood-to-wood contact.

I find that starting with a goal or focus will keep you from buying just to buy and then regretting it later. If a price seems off but you’re not sure just ask an experienced collector for their opinion. I’m always down to help fellow collectors find their footing.

How do you store decks?
I keep my boards in a dry place in plastic bags. Some are in boxes but most are stacked. I don’t worry about the boards warping a little because I’m never gonna skate them, so none of that matters. If you store or display them in direct sunlight they will fade, so be mindful of that.

Other than that, buy what makes you happy and have fun.

Eric Pinto

How long have you been collecting, and how much have you spent on decks so far?
I have approximately 400 complete skateboards in my collection. I couldn’t exactly tell you how much I’ve invested in my collection, but my ex-wife certainly could guess [laugh].

I’ve been collecting boards since about 2004, so over 18 years so far. You guys interviewed me in 2015 when I used to live in NYC. I am lucky to still have my first professional skateboard which is a 1988 Powell Peralta Lance Mountain. I’ve saved some other decks I’ve skated growing up, but not many, I wish I saved them all. I also run the Instagram for the shop I buy skateboards for at @wabisabiboards.

If someone were to get into collecting decks, where would one start?
eBay is still the best place to get started on collecting vintage boards. You can still find deals on things if you stay glued to your screen, and always know what is ending and what is newly listed.

Facebook and Instagram are also good for finding decks. Putting feelers out and asking questions about boards you like can lead you to other collectors and lead you to boards you might not know about. Finding other collectors and keeping up conversations helps, because you kind of look out for each other when boards of interest pop up.

How do you figure out deck pricing?
Looking at completed listings on eBay is a good indicator of current market prices. A lot of sellers really gouge their prices with really high “Buy It Now’s,” but they rarely get bought at that price.

Are there one or two “whale” collectors that everyone knows about?
I know collectors that own jaw-dropping, totally bonkers rare decks. For some people, they started collecting in the ’90s, and have held onto their hoard since. They wouldn’t want me blowing them up so I won’t. I can tell you about fellow Canadian, James Lamb, who has a very thorough ’80s collection. He proudly displays his skateboards in shadow boxed picture frames organized wall to wall inside his two-story classic car mechanics shop. He built a bowl inside as well. He’s got some rare boards for sure.

Also Chris Rice, aka @destroyedwood. He’s a pal and the best dude with a fantastic collection of very rad professional personal riders of the ’80s and ’90s that would melt your face off. Personal riders [boards that were skated by a pro] are the sickest decks to own, in my opinion.

How big is the market, how many buyers and sellers do you think are actually out there?
The market is exponentially huge. I have no idea how many buyers and sellers there are. How many life-long committed skateboarders do you think there are in the world? Most skateboarders have a collection of some type naturally, but they wouldn’t call themselves “collectors.” Collecting relates to the nostalgia and to the physical history of that love of skateboarding.

What do you focus on collecting most?
I have boards from all eras of skating, but I tend to focus on the ’80s. The discovery and development of so many varieties of deck shapes were so experimental and magical and important. Also, the board graphics were pretty fresh too.

What are the most expensive or sought-after decks? What’s the holy grail?
Generally, there are three ways to distinguish the most expensive and wanted decks – the condition of it, what pro is it, and how rare is it. The best condition boards get the most money. The sickest pros get the most money. And if it’s low production numbers it’s worth more money.

Do you ever worry about rare decks being re-issued and their value going down?
Nothing beats the original artifact. I’m not too concerned about reissues. They have been making reissues of boards for over 20 years now. Some people only collect reissues- let them do their thing. I think it brings up the value of the original. Fakes and reissues that are sold as originals are lame as hell- newbie collectors have to be wary of this.

What’s something for a first-time collector or buyer to look out for? Any tips?
It’s always best to do research to see if a board you are interested in was ever reissued. For example, a skated reissue that might be five years old and left out in the shed might look like a 35-year-old vintage board when it’s not. The seller might not be telling the truth or might be misinformed themselves.

How do you store decks?
You do need to be aware of how you store your decks. I store my extra decks in plastic sleeves, then in cardboard boxes that hold about six decks each. Then I stack those boxes neatly on industrial shelving in a heat-regulated room. Cold or heat changes can warp your decks. Hanging decks on the exterior wall of a house, hanging decks on uneven walls, and hanging decks in direct sunlight, can all cause warping.

Nick Halkias

How long have you been collecting, and how much have you spent on decks so far?
I have around 500 decks. The majority of my collection was collected from 1996 to 2003. I have no idea how much I’ve spent, but I’m really fortunate that the majority were picked up for $15-$200 bucks. @TheSkateBoardMuseum is my Instagram, and I also make decks the old-fashioned way with Sean Cliver over at StrangeLove Skateboards.

If someone were to get into collecting decks, where would one start?
Facebook collector groups are where a majority of the networking goes down. Instagram too, of course. When I started I went right to the source – skate shop owners, ex-pro and AMs, company dudes, skate mag employees, and artists.

How do you figure out deck pricing?
You really don’t. Especially these days. You can follow online auctions and discussions in collectors groups, but a deck is worth what someone is willing to pay. Most collectors still skate or consider themselves lifers. Just start talking and networking. Collecting skate decks comes from a place of love. It’s a part of the passion of loving skateboarding. Don’t be scared. There are a few antique dealers out there though. Beware of the money lovers.

Are there one or two “whale” collectors that everyone knows about?
Of course. Brian Flynn is known for his early ’80s decks and impressive Powell Pig collection. James Lamb is the dude with all the Vision stuff. Ed Moncanda has amassed one of the nicest ’90s collections I’ve ever seen. Tim Anderson has a great collection of art and decks – support DeckAid when it comes through your town.

How big is the market, how many buyers and sellers do you think are actually out there?
A whole bunch, but how many are bat shit fanatics? There’s a small group of 75 or so that communicate with each other often. There are new collectors every day. Especially as the 30-year-olds get more financially comfortable and want their first deck or that deck that Santa never got them. Start gobbling up those Wet Willy, Birdhouse, and Shortys decks now folks.

What do you focus on collecting most?
It changes every year. My friend’s pro models are what I get really excited about these days. That’s really how I got started collecting. Most often it’s the stuff from 89-96. I get really stoked on the ’90s DLX stuff. Original art created for decks and tee’s has been my focus. That stuff was easier to find than decks for the last 20 years. People are finally getting hip to collecting that as well.

What are the most expensive or sought-after decks? What’s the holy grail?
There’s a Stereo team board that’s #1 on the list. A purple Gonz and Roses would be an incredible find. Everything is expensive lately. I can’t even afford to buy anything anymore.

Do you ever worry about rare decks being re-issued and their value going down?
Not at all. There are a lot of reproductions floating around. They are fairly easy to spot. It’s great that you can ride your first deck again. Skate those things because they are tomorrow’s Beanie Babies.

What’s something for a first-time collector or buyer to look out for? Any tips?
Collect what you love. The world is about to end and we will all be fighting for water and gas. If you’re collecting for the money you’re about to be seriously bummed. Hoard bearings. They will be currency once the apocalypse comes.

How do you store decks?
Climate control storage is a must. Mine are carefully packed away and protected by an old Greek curse. Oh, for gods sake, take the shrink wrap off any decks you’re hoarding. That cheap plastic does funky stuff to paint and transfers.

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Comments

  1. Buy

    June 7, 2022 1:46 pm

    How much for my old consolidated boobs graphic board???

  2. Not the biggest kook

    June 7, 2022 2:38 pm

    @buy Todd Bratrud stuff is rad, it’s certainly worth more than you paid.

    Not that anybody asked but my favorite stuff is the Anti Hero stamp series by Chris Wright and the Consolidated bug series black w/ silver ink by Aaron Horkey. Jeremy Fish decks are cool too. Thanks bye.

  3. Antonio Parisi

    June 7, 2022 3:05 pm

    Hi Jenkem and Daveskoot,

    I wanted to reach out and confirm that I go on eBay and purposely bid up decks. If something gets posted that is within the realm of alien/ habitat, zero, or girl/chocolate it is easy to see people willing to pay 300-400. Some of Dave’s collection, I purposely got him to pay more than he really wanted. For all the deck collectors looking to cancel me…you can’t! I will forever raise the value of decks and take advantage of the collector’s addiction. Collectors vulnerability is simple and is as follows: cannot skate but want the satisfaction of followers by posting decks.

  4. fucking weirdo

    June 7, 2022 3:15 pm

    @Antonio Parisi

    Weird flex… but ok…

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