There are not many items like vintage skateboards that have such dedicated collectors. Even though the first models from the 1920s were dangerous without steer ability, they started one of the most significant American cultural movements.
Each skateboard generation came with innovations, but vintage and unique pieces are still highly appreciated. Consequently, their value increases every year. Nowadays, the most desirable are those produced from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Skateboard origins came from the 1920s when the first three-wheeled scooter appeared, and it evolved into the skeeter by the 1940s. However, the first real skateboard was born in California in the 1950s when surfers started creating homemade boards.
Interestingly, you can’t determine the sidewalk surfing board inventor. Somehow, many enthusiasts opened skate shops at the same time with the same concept.
The 1920s – Scooter skates
Cross-country skiing enthusiasts invented these bright red metal boards with three steel wheels to enjoy their favorite sport after the summertime. They featured two adjustable clamps for feet and two poles. After the handle removing, it was possible to ride it like a skateboard.
The 1940s – Skeeter
Aluminum skeeters that appeared in the 1940s resembled modern boards more closely. They had wheels made of the same metal, steering axles, and a removable pole. These steering axles were an incredible invention that allowed the riders to steer their boards.
The 1950s and the 1960s – Roller derby
The surfing movement boomed in the 1950s, and numerous hand-made skateboards were introduced. Enthusiasts used wooden boards or milk boxes with attached roller skate wheels made of clay to their bottoms. Believe it or not, most wanted to reach a natural surfing feel and went barefoot.
The first commercial model, Roller Derby, appeared on the market in the 1960s. This wooden skateboard featured dual steel wheels and roller skate trucks.
The manufacturer started with the Skate Board Kit, but sales skyrocketed with fully assembled skateboards. As you can guess, Southern California quickly became the center of skateboarding.
Numerous companies in the US began with skateboard production, trying to make as unique boards as possible. For instance, the Official Skee-Skate Air Master designed an attractive brown deck with a white box.
That way, each owner could write their name and secure their skateboard from stealing. Then, logos on the board’s deck became a standard:
- Genuine Skateboard of Canada added a maple leaf graphic
- Nash Sidewalk Surfers decorated their products with a stylized footprint trio
- Bauer used a bold white arrow
- Sokol Surf Skate introduced burning letters directly into the wood
Color became the next crucial thing. Roller Derby became recognizable for the yellow Mustang with matching yellow wheels. On the other hand, Zipees picked out a board decorated with a pair of brown-and-white stripes and green clay wheels.
By the mid-1960s, Super Surfer started using fiberglass and composite decks. The new invention became the big news at the World Skateboarding Championships held in 1965 in California.
The 1970s – Cadillac wheels
Surfer Frank Nasworthy was the first to attach high-performance roller-skating polyurethane wheels to his Hobie skateboard in the 1970s. He started marketing them under the Cadillac Wheels name in 1973.
Other manufacturers improved trucks and ball bearings explicitly designed for boards, increasing their safety. That contributed to this sport’s popularity during the 1970s.
Easier-to-manipulate trucks allowed wider deck use, and riders got the ability to develop their skills. That led to numerous skateboard competitions and the opening of the first two skate parks.
The next step was transforming the sport from freestyle and downhill racing to heavy vert skating. As a result, riders developed different riding types (genres, styles), paving the way for street skating in the 1990s. The most popular board manufacturers in this decade were:
- Santa Cruz
From the 1980s to present
Skateboarding popularity decreased in the early 1980s after BMX biking’s sudden popularity. However, Powell-Peralta, Santa Cruz, and Vision-Sims didn’t give up and kept producing their boards.
Once more, at the end of the 1990s, skateboarding came back again. This time, enthusiasts enjoyed longboarding and downhill. The most prominent manufacturers in that period were:
- Alien Workshop
- Black Label
Vintage Skateboard Value
Thanks to their fascinating history, vintage skateboards can be highly valuable. Interestingly, the most expensive are hand-made pieces professional boarders created.
Vintage skateboard value
|Skateboard type||Production year||Price|
|Sonic Youth Dirty Promo skateboard||1992||$4,500|
|Santa Cruz Robro Scoop skateboard||Unknown||$2,520|
|Powell Peralta Rodney Mullen skateboard||1981||$2,500|
|G&S Mona Lisa skateboard||1990||$2,000|
|Mark Gonzales Vision skateboard||The 1980s||$2,000|
|Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Street Hawk skateboard||Unknown||$1,600|
|Signed Jason Lee David Bowie Primewood skateboard||Unknown||$1,500|
|Mike Vallely Elephant Board||The 1980s||$1,400|
|Santa Cruz Todd Mcfarlane Spawn skateboard||Unknown||$1,400|
|Powell Peralta Steve Caballero skateboard||The 1980s||$1,125|
|Kevin Staab Mad Scientist skateboard||The 1980s||$995|
|ZOO YORK -911 Tribute Skateboard||2001||$920|
|Santa Cruz Everslick skateboard||The 1990s||$800|
|Jean-Marc Freestyle skateboard||Unknown||$800|
|Aggrssor2 skateboard||The 1980s||$750|
|Powell Peralta Tommy Guerrero skateboard||1989||$700|
|Supreme Larry Clark makeout skateboard||The 1980s||$610|
|Santa Cruz the Simpsons skateboard||Unknown||$550|
|Santa Cruz Steve Olson Checker||1981||$500|
|Zorlac Metallica skateboard||Unknown||$500|
|Formula One skateboard||The 1990s||$450|
|Mark Rogowski Gator skateboard||The 1980s||$370|
|Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Medallion skateboard||1990||$359|
|Deck Monty nolder skateboard||Unknown||$355|
|Nash/Park Wooden skateboard||The 1960s||$300|
|Logan Earth Ski Torger Johnson skateboard||The 1970s||$270|
|Variflex Waimea Bay skateboard||The 1980s||$185.50|
|Valterra King Cobra skateboard||1984||$160|
|Baker Erik Ellington skateboard||The 2000s||$112.50|
|Blank #5 JIMBO Teak Oak skateboard||The 1970s||$27|
Since this kind of market is narrowly specialized, boarders quickly recognize privately made boards and the most prominent creators. Such skateboards can be worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
The most pricey are cult boards from the pop culture collection. For instance, one collector paid $38,425 for a skateboard with Bob Dylan lyrics and signature.
Collectors also highly appreciate uniquely designed boards, particularly those created by Santa Cruz and Powell-Peralta.
On the other hand, you can find affordable skateboards worth only $50. They are typically damaged or intended for beginners or children. In most cases, you need to set aside $250 to $500 for a standard board.
Wooden models or those created of early plastic materials with steel or clay wheels are considered a jackpot.
There are no particular places to find vintage skateboards. In fact, you can come across one in unbelievably weird places. If you prefer going for proven options, you should look for desirable pieces at:
- Online auctions
- Estate auctions
- Local yard sales
Features That Make a Skateboard Expensive
Typically, a few things distinguish inexpensive from top-notch antiques. The same thing is with vintage skateboards, and you can quickly determine the most pricey by:
Craftsmanship and materials
As I have already mentioned, riders quickly recognize the appreciated enthusiasts’ work and craftsmanship style. Some boards are authentic artwork, making them collectibles regardless of the craft quality.
On the contrary, prices of ordinary vintage boards intended for regular use will depend on used materials.
Most skateboard features art prints or stickers on their bottoms. Since some are rare, they can be worth a small fortune. The rule of thumb is that the price is higher when the artwork is famous and more exclusive.
As you know, collectibles connected with celebrities or well-known events typically reach high prices. Therefore, collectors will be prepared to pay more for skateboards used by famous skateboarders like Tony Alva, Bam Margera, Tony Hawk, or Elissa Steamer. Boards with a unique background will also bring higher value.
Nowadays, many designers created unique and precious skateboards, often made in various shapes and from atypical materials. Therefore, pieces designed by MoMA or Versace are more worthy than others.
Typically, a one-of-a-kind skateboard will be more pricey than regular ones. Therefore, custom boards are always more appreciated and costly, whether sold or resold.
The Rarest and Most Expensive Skateboards
It can seem strange, but the first skateboards were made only eight decades ago. That is why the rarest pieces are not the oldest but the most famous ones. A list of the rarest and most expensive skateboards includes those with one-of-a-kind status or models that somehow became a part of history.
The rarest skateboards on the market
|Production year||Skateboard type||Price|
|2012||Blowin’ in the wind skateboard||$38,425|
|2012||Lasek and Yauch skateboard set||$35,000|
|2019||The Supreme Mundi||$20,000|
|2014||The Golden skateboard||$15,000|
|1984||Rob Roskopp Santa Cruz skateboard||$14,800|
|1988||Santa Monica Airlines skateboard||$7,250|
|1984||No Net Ever black flag skateboard||$7,000|
Blowin’ in the Wind is the rarest skateboard worldwide, thanks to Bob Dylan, who signed it and inscribed a song passage.
Bucky Lasek and Adam Yauch sold their four-board set with Beastie Boys lyrics and Adam’s signatures for an incredible $35,000.
Blackbird board is Tony Hawk’s skateboard featuring Beatles song lyrics Paul McCartney wrote in person.
Adrian Wilson named this artist’s palette on wheels the Supreme Mundi, but it is not a skateboard in the true sense of the word.
The Golden skateboard is covered with 99.9999% gold plating but is still perfectly ridable.
Skating legend Rob Roskopp created the Santa Cruz skateboard before becoming the CEO of Santa Cruz bicycles.
The skater Natas Kaupas designed Santa Monica Airlines skateboard graphics based on a Frank Frazetta painting.
Raymond Pettibon designed the rare and expensive No Net Ever skateboard worth $7,000.
Reasons to Choose an Old-School Board
Even though you can see some skateboard deck crossovers, there are four primary skateboard deck types available, including:
- Shortboards (trick skateboards)
- Maneuverable cruiser boards for cruising
- Old-School boards for ramps, cruising, and pools
- Longboards for downhill racing and transportation
Riders equally use each model depending on the riding type they prefer. However, many still enjoy old-school skateboards as a perfect combination of cruising and trick riding.
These skateboards are beautiful and desirable and allow speed riding after a good kick. Technically, you can recognize three old-school board types:
- Vintage old-schoolers manufactured during the early decades
- Reissues (throwbacks), newly manufactured old decks
- New old-schoolers invented in modern times with the old-school flair but without models available in the past
Authentic vintage old-school skateboards are collectible and the most expensive but also the least maneuverable. The list of the best and most desirable old-school skateboards includes:
- 33 inches (83.9 cm) long and 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide Moose Old School, worth $70, is the best model overall
- 25 inches (64.1 cm) long and 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) wide MPI Nos skateboard, worth $40, is the best authentic vintage
- 5 inches (80 cm) long and 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) wide Santa Cruz Roskopp Face, worth $135, is the best OG brand
- 875 inches (81 cm) long and 9.375 inches (23.8 cm) wide Powell-Peralta Hotrod Flames, worth $100, is the best 1990s reissue
- 58 inches (80.2 cm) long and 9 inches (22.9 cm) wide Creature Shed Ice Picks, worth $80, is the best option for advanced riders
- 33 inches (83.9 cm) long and 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide Yocaher Pro, worth $65, is the best option for beginners
- 32 inches (81.3 cm) long and 8.7 inches (22 cm) wide Alien Workshop Peace, worth $90, has the best graphics
- 75 inches (80.6 cm) long and 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) wide Prime Lee Foghorn, worth $155, has the most recognizable graphics
- 5 inches (82.55 cm) long and 8.38 inches (21.3 cm) wide Birdhouse Loy, worth $85, has the most recognizable art
- 1 inches (81.5 cm) long and 9.8 inches (24.9 cm) wide Blind Mark Gonzales, worth $70, is the best deck-only model
- 33 inches (83.9 cm) long and 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide Epic Sports Old School, worth $60, is best for budgets
Even though skateboarding appeared as a sport in the 1920s, it became trendy in the 1960s. The first scooter had three wheels but soon evolved into the four-wheeled skeeter in the 1940s. The modern skateboard appeared in California in the 1950s when local surfers designed homemade boards.