Valuation of Frye Boots

I have received several email messages in the last week from people who found an old pair of Frye Boots at a yard sale, and have said,

I found your website. I would like to know what price to list a pair of old Frye boots on eBay.

Yes, I have a number of pairs of vintage ’70s and ’80s Frye boots and have written about them on this blog, though it has been quite some time since I have done that.

But with my nostalgic postings on both the website and blog, I fear that I may have…

…misled people into believing two things:

1. I am personally still interested in acquiring more vintage Fryes.

2. I can place a value on old Fryes by reading a description and seeing pictures.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I am not interested in acquiring any more Fryes. In fact, if anyone wants to buy any of my old Fryes from me, make an offer. I’d be happy to part with them. I cannot wear them any more and they are taking up storage space in my boot closet.

Also, I cannot place a value on boots, even if I have said that vintage Fryes are highly valued by collectors. I am not a collector (per se). I just never parted with the Fryes that I originally bought and wore when in high school and college.

As I have said to the people who have written to me,

I’m sorry, but I cannot place a value on a pair of old Frye boots. I have seen them sell on eBay from $20 to $100 / pair, depending on their condition, size, quality of the posting and photos, and whims of buyers. I have seen vintage Fryes go for higher, and have also seen them languish and go unsold. It really varies.

Old boots are old boots, regardless of how fondly they are thought of by people like me who grew up with them. Us older guys can’t wear them any more.

If you have old Frye boots and want to resell them, one important thing to determine is if the boots are truly “vintage” (that is, made by the original John A. Frye Shoe Company and not any of the companies that bought the name and label after the original JA Frye Co. sold out in 1987 — see history here).

After that, regardless if the boots are vintage or not and you want to sell them — clean them with good leather conditioner, polish metal harness rings and grommets to remove oxidation, but don’t resole them (doing so is throwing away money.) Take good photos of them, preferably being worn by a human, not just photos of boots laying on the floor or on a table.

Post a sale on eBay, but don’t put in a reserve. Boots will sell for what the buyers-of-the-moment are willing to pay. The buyer-of-the-moment may be a real collector interested in a particular style or color, or just may be whimsical.

The thing is, old Fryes are fondly remembered by a cohort of the Baby Boom generation who were in their teens and 20s between the late 1960s and early 1980s. Most people in that age cohort are in their 60s and 70s now, and just aren’t interested in buying old boots because they can’t wear them and are not interested in doing so even if they could.

With the aging population being what it is, the number of people interested in buying old Fryes is decreasing rapidly. Current generation cohorts (Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z) generally don’t wear boots, or if they do, choose short fashion-oriented boots rather than ’70s-style boots worn by long-haired hippies (back then, I actually had shoulder-length hair so I can say this!)

Life is short: old boots are old boots; memories fade, styles change.

3 thoughts on “Valuation of Frye Boots

  1. I’m amazed that you still have Frye boots that you bought back in the 70’s. I guess they mean a lot to you. I was an 80’s kid but I have always loved the fashions from the 70’s, especially Frye boots. I don’t own any Frye boots at the moment, although I did have a pair in the past. I do have about 3 pairs of boots that look like Frye boots. I would love to buy a pair of your old Frye boot except you wear a size 10 and I wear a size 11. I’m not sure that would work for me.

    • Thanks, Jerome… yeah, I have nostalgic tastes, but it’s time to part with what I can’t wear any more. You’re right, if you are a size 11, my size 10s that don’t fit me wouldn’t fit you. Sorry.

  2. Take it from an ebay seller, me. Boot process have gone way down since the end of the recession. Don’t know why but they have. Ebay is overrun with boots right now. Great for buyers. Terrible for sellers.

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