Beware Rip-Offs!



Hey ya’ll, I guess it’s human nature, but even Gilley’s memorabilia is affected by the desire to make money at other people’s expense. Having spent years looking at Gilley’s product, both good and bad, here is my primer on recognizing and avoiding copies, fakes, counterfeit, reproductions, and unlicensed product.


Sellers, on ebay and elsewhere, are pushing shirts with descriptions like “GILLEY’S TSHIRT BAR URBAN COWBOY GILLEYS TEXAS SHIRT” and “GILLEY’S BAR TSHIRT URBAN COWBOY TEXAS GILLEYS SHIRT.” These shirts are modern copies of the vintage originals. And they only have the Gilley’s logo on the front. The original Gilley’s shirts had the logo on the front and back of shirts made almost always from 50/50 cotton/poly fabric, with a few of the later made from 75/25. Most of the new copies are 100% cotton. Here’s a current example that’s really easy to fall for. It’s a Gilley’s Club shirt made of 50/50 and described as “Gilleys club vintage T SHIRT rockabilly country bar tee” on ebay with the following picture: It looks just like the real early Gilley’s Club shirts, it’s 50/50, and they say it’s vintage. So I emailed them the following question on Oct. 15, 2010: “Hi. Is the print on the back also? When you say “vintage” is this an actual 70’s/80’s shirt or made recently? Thanks.” I got the following response on Oct. 16, 2010: “Hey, it’s just on the front and it is a vintage style print — looks like a vintage shirt but it is more recent. Thanks.” So it’s “vintage style” but more recent. LOL I guess the fact that they have as many as you want in any size is the only real tip off on this one. I’m not saying don’t buy one, just know what you’re buying. It’s probably a nice shirt, just not the real thing from the club. You can almost guarantee that any seller offering 100% cotton shirts, especially when they have a choice of size, color, etc., is offering a knock-off despite their careful effort to intimate the shirts are real vintage. Their descriptions appear to have been written by intellectual property lawyers using every legal loophole they can find.

There is ONE possible exception to the above. Several years ago an old warehouse (I believe in Texas) was found to contain numerous boxes containing unused but old Gilley’s shirts, with original tags and 50/50 fabric, but only printed on the fronts. My personal guess is that these were never sold by Gilley’s because they didn’t have both sides printed.

After speaking with a representative of the owner of the shirts I purchased a number of them and may offer some of the duplicates for sale. Keep an eye on my Buy/Sell/Donate page for pictures and message me there if you are interested.

Another modern knock-off showing up on ebay these days is the Gilley’s ringer shirt. If you look below the Gilley’s logo it says “Pasadena, Texas” but has the city on one line and the state below it. Both city and state are on the same line on the vintage Gilley’s shirts.


Beware language like “reminders, remembrance, vintage, art, original” etc. in ads for posters. Especially for Gilley’s concert posters featuring Willie Nelson from 1971 and Stevie Ray Vaughan from 1986. I don’t know why these two were singled out but for some reason the internet is being over-run by fantasy posters appearing to represent actual concerts. Unfortunately, from conversations with experts who are beyond reproach, neither of these concerts actually took place at Gilley’s, and the picture of Willie Nelson on the “1971” poster is actually from a number of years later. Willie had short hair in 1971, so this poster was clearly designed and printed AFTER 1971.

We have at least 2 different versions each of these fantasy posters, some much more rare than others, but all fantasy nonetheless. So don’t believe any version of the Willie Nelson or Stevie Ray Vaughn “Gilley’s” posters is real. At best, you may have found a more rare version of a fantasy poster.

In all my time searching for real, vintage Gilley’s concert posters I have only come across a very small number of them, and most of those now hang in the Gilley’s Museum. We have a George Strait concert in 1985, Loretta Lynn in 1986, a Johnny Cash concert poster dated December 17th with no year, and a George Jones poster dated October 11, 1986.

Light Switch CoversSomeone is selling light switch covers on ebay with a picture taken from the old Gilley’s at the Frontier in Las Vegas. This is not official product. If you buy one just know that it did not come from the club.


An ebay seller believes he owns a cowboy hat that was actually worn by Debra Winger in “Urban Cowboy.” Despite his belief, backed up by a home made certificate of authenticity from a non-existent (past or present) country music museum, the hat came from a store in California, has the wrong color feather, has no hat pin holes in the hat or liner (every scene in the movie where Debra is wearing a hat shows numerous hat pins on the front and back), and the head band is brand new, showing no sweat or makeup marks that would obviously exist if the hat had been worn by an actress while filming. He was duped, and you shouldn’t be duped by his inaccurate beliefs.


To my knowledge, there is not a big problem with fake Mickey Gilley autographs, probably due to Mickey’s good nature and his willingness to sign just about anything at any time for anybody. Whether it’s a shirt, cap, calendar, album cover, photo, fan club newsletter, or Gilley’s napkin, they are abundantly available. From time to time I have seen dealers offering autographed pictures for as much as $200 plus, including the obligatory Certificate of Authenticity, and can only shake my head as to why anyone would ask such a price. I guess there’s a sucker born every minute. As much as I love Mickey I wouldn’t value an item nearly as much for his signature as I would for the rarity of the item itself. Add a few dollars if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend much more than that, unless it’s on a check made out to you.  LOL

Ditto the above for Johnny Lee autographs. We have numerous examples of both in the Gilley’s Museum collection, including caps, shirts, buckles, photos and more. Do you have any more examples? Or questions about something you own? Tell us about it.  I don’t want to see any more victims. It’s okay to buy a copy if you know what you’re buying, the price is right, and you don’t try to re-sell it as the real thing. As always, buyer beware. Bubba


On July 3, 2015 we purchased a numbered (296002) Gilley’s bumper sticker on ebay in a buy-it-now offer and paid in full immediately. On July 4 the seller canceled the sale. I emailed the seller asking why and he responded that he thought the sticker was worth more than the buy-it-now price he himself had set. That constitutes a clear beach of contract.

I notified ebay and they strung me out for several days until flat out refusing to take any action to force the seller to deliver or pay damages for the breach. I then filed a complaint (# 429593: eBay Inc.) with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They facilitated communication of my complaints and claims back and forth with ebay for several days as ebay refused to acknowledge their complicity in the breach and refused to take any action. On July 14 the BBB closed the complaint as unresolved, claiming they could do nothing more.

Per paypal records, the seller is identified as Dean Reynolds at the email address His ebay seller name is DEANOWEB.

Bottom line, this dishonest seller should be avoided, and people should be aware that ebay has no desire to protect buyers from dishonest sellers and BBB has no desire to protect customers of ebay. They don’t know or follow the law of the land as it applies to contracts. Sad but true.

It’s Wednesday, July 6, 2011 and unfortunately I have to post a warning about an unethical ebay seller. I purchased an Urban Cowboy trade ad/poster from this seller who then refused to ship, presumably because he didn’t get a high enough price. The seller’s ebay info is: Contact Information for allisa23 User ID: allisa23 Name: dakota gray Company: City: Walton State: NY Country: United States Phone: (607) 643-5728 Registered Since: Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 11:09:05 PDT This account has been closed and upon calling the seller he was deceptive and then said his parents were responsible for shipping. Then this morning a woman claiming to be his mother called me and screamed that I should leave her son alone. Buyer beware! These people do not deliver as promised. Do business with them at your own risk! You’ve been warned.

Gilley’s Bumper Stickers

Before you buy a “genuine vintage Gilley’s bumper sticker” there are a few things you should know. The actual original vintage stickers measured 3″ by 12″ and have backing paper printed by 3M. See the pictures below. They are also individually numbered. Stickers from the 1970’s should be numbered under 400,000 and anything numbered below 100,000 is almost surely going to show some yellowing in the white background. If it has a very low number and is perfectly white, buyer beware.

Early vintage Gilley's Bumper Sticker

Early 1970’s vintage Gilley’s bumper sticker.

Notice the yellowed background and serial number 42964. A number this low was issued most likely in the first or second year they started putting them on car bumpers in the parking lot and selling them for $1 each in the club.

3M backing paper on vintage Gilley's Bumper Sticker

3M backing paper on vintage Gilley’s Bumper Sticker

The partial close-up above shows the 3M and Scotchlite print on the back of our early 1970’s Gilley’s Bumper Sticker. Look for this paper on any early Gilley’s sticker as an indicator of its vintage origin. I have also come across a so-called vintage Gilley’s sticker that has a number in the 400,000’s and is perfectly white, but only measures 2 3/4″ by 11″. The backing is also perfectly white with no printing on it. My money says it’s a fake. A third possibility has just been brought to my attention by my buddy Mike. He has a 3″ by 12″ Gilley’s bumper sticker with no serial number at all. He says these stickers are being sold by friends of Mickey Gilley out of Missouri. These stickers should be considered novelty items. They are not vintage and are not valuable memorabilia or collectibles. I have also seen a 3″ by 10″ version. In case it isn’t obvious, here’s what this modern made Gilley’s Bumper Sticker looks like. Notice the blank space at the bottom right below “PASADENA TEXAS” where the serial number should be.

Gilley's bumper sticker with NO number - Modern Reproduction.

This Gilley’s Bumper Sticker is a modern reproduction, lacking the serial number that is on all vintage originals.

Another “novelty item” appearing on ebay in 2016 is a “remake” of the famous Gilley’s Texas-shaped sticker pictured below.

Gilley's Texas shaped sticker

Notice 2 important details. The red print is clear and sharp, and the sticker (which has the same 3M backing as the rectangular sticker above) is almost the exact same size as the backing, with very little backing showing from the front.

The “novelty” sticker comes in 2 versions, a blue background and a white background, as seen in the pictures below.

Modern decal-like fake Gilley's sticker.

Modern decal-like fake Gilley’s sticker.

Any such sticker with the blue background is not a real vintage sticker, period. Remember this: If it’s blue, it’s new!

Then there’s the white version, which looks much more like the vintage sticker. Here is a picture of the “novelty” version.

Gilley's decal - white - NOT vintage

Here are the tell-tale signs. 1. There is a sizable amount of backing paper showing from the front. 2. The red print is fuzzy, not sharp like the original. 3. The white background appears to be flat, not reflective like the original. 4. Although they don’t show the backing paper, I’d bet it’s plain white without the 3M marking.

Both of these stickers sell for around $5, and aren’t worth anything other than as a novelty piece. They are not collectible.

February 2013 new addition. Another Gilley’s bumper sticker has made an appearance on ebay that buyers need to know about. It’s a 3″ by 5″ (3×5) sticker with a picture of part of the famous Gilley’s sign on a white background. According to the seller, it’s a vinyl material with no printing on the backing paper. I purchased one so I could make my own judgement. It’s very thin and appears to be more like a photograph printed on a shiny label.  The quality is nowhere near as nice as the bumper stickers sold by Gilley’s. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made on a home computer printer. To the best of my knowledge this sticker was never sold or authorized by Gilley’s and is something recently  made to cater to the current demand for Gilley’s product. There are a couple of dead give-aways. First, the bent “L” in Club is indicative of what the sign looks like recently, not the way it looked back in the day in front of Gilley’s when they were open. Second, there is no 3M logo on the backing paper. So again, buyer beware. Feel free to purchase this Gilley’s bumper sticker if you don’t care that it is probably unlicensed and not actual Gilley’s product. Just don’t put any “collectors” value on it. You might call it a “tribute” to Gilley’s Club, but I don’t think it qualifies as memorabilia or collectible. Here is a picture so you know it when you see it.

Gilley's Sign bumper sticker.

This 3″ by 5″ Gilley’s Sign bumper sticker is almost certainly NOT vintage or issued by Gilley’s Club.

Here’s another new one to show you. This one popped up on ebay in December of 2013. It’s appears to be a legit sticker for the El Toro mechanical bull from the manufacturer that now makes the bull after purchasing the company from Sherwood Cryer. Just don’t confuse it with the vintage Gilley’s El Toro Bronco Shop sticker from the Urban Cowboy days. Here’s a picture of the new sticker. Notice the lack of the name “Gilley’s Bronco Shop” and the 1-800 number instead of the old Gilley’s company phone number.

New El Toro Mfg Co bumper sticker.

New El Toro Mfg Co bumper sticker.

Here’s a picture of the vintage Gilley’s Bronco Shop sticker that you’ll see on every old mechanical bull made during the days the company was owned by Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas.

Vintage Gilley's El Toro Bronco Shop Sticker.

Vintage Gilley’s El Toro Bronco Shop Sticker.

Until next time. Stay aware, people. Bubba

22 Responses to “Beware Rip-Offs!”
  1. Henry says:

    This is a real cool blog. I only have a Gilley’s Theatre Branson T-shirt (gilley’s on fron & back). What’s up with these beer cans? They used to be as common as JR & Billy, but are selling in the $10-35 range-EMPTY! American Pickers perhaps? Yes, the Ebay fake/unlicensed stuff should not be purchased. It not only hurts the actual license owner, but I have to dig through pages of worthless junk only to find the real stuff which hurts those sellers too. People fake the craziest things, but not the beer cans- yet


    • Hi Henry,

      American Pickers has definitely affected the market. Whether it’s temporary or permanent only time will tell. I am surprised that the beer cans have done so well, for the reasons you stated. I totally agree on the fake/unlicensed stuff too. Especially since many of the sellers use extremely deceptive language in order to cover up the fact that they are not original vintage Gilley’s items. Sad.

      Thanks for your great comments.


  2. Victoria says:

    I have a completely white Mickey Gilley Bumper sticker with the 3M logo on the back with the number of 291743 on it. How much is it worth?

    • Hi Victoria.

      Your vintage Gilley’s Pasadena, TX bumper sticker’s serial number indicates it’s from the late 1970’s, probably around 1978 or so. Unfortunately, ever since the American Pickers episode on TV where Frank and Mike met Mickey Gilley and purchased some memorabilia from him prices have gotten extremely volatile and unpredictable, making it impossible to price items as accurately as you could before the show aired. For that reason, I no longer feel comfortable giving price guidance. I wish I could be of more help.


  3. Tim says:

    Are there any fake Gilley’s belt buckles on e-bay

    • Hi Tim,

      We haven’t seen any evidence of fake Gilley’s buckles anywhere so far. However, if the prices on these buckles keep rising and 3D printers keep getting better and cheaper, the risk of fakes showing up in the market will increase.

      For the time being, I think you’re okay buying anything that looks legit.


  4. Teresa Vanvalkenburg says:

    I have a poster from Oct. 7TH of Wille Nelson on it and was wondering if it is a real one or fake.

  5. Lori says:

    We have a bunch of the old bumper stickers numbered around 64,000 What are they worth? Was thinking of putting them on Ebay.

  6. Rip lorick says:

    The image used in all the willie nelson posters is from around 75 not 71. So i think they must all be fake? Anyone?

  7. Dread says:

    I’ve been searching everywhere but can’t find a vintage Gilley’s t-shirt with tag. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  8. Brent says:

    I Bubba – this is Brent – I was wondering if you might be interested in a trade – I recently purchased a 4th concert poster and it’s a duplicate and wanted to see if you might want to trade it for any duplicate concert posters you have?


  9. Cowboy Col says:

    Thanks for the informed web site and info Bubba. From a Gilley fan in Australia! Cheers.

  10. Marvin stanley says:

    yes I have a ELTORO Mechanical Bull from gilleys. its the complete setup and consist of the bull, the el toro cushion, the controler, the 220 blower fan, about 100′ wire, and the hold harmless agreements. its also 100% functionalble and no doubt the real deal. how would i get it authenticated or who would be interested in such a great piece of the urban cowboy and cowboy history.

  11. michael shipskey says:

    where can I find repair parts or a repair manual for a el toro. mike shipskey

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