Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dali Celbrates 100th Vintage Ties Posting

To celebrate 100 Vintage Ties blog entries, and my third year blogging ties, I can't resist showing off my pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, the ne plus ultra, the apex, the acme, if not the epitome and pinnacle of my vintage tie collection, namely my Salvador Dali specimen.

Every vintage tile collector covets a Salvador Dali tie, and they sell quite frequently on eBay, as there were apparently dozens of designs made with the Dali signature on them. (According to expert collector Ron Sparks, see below, there were 43 different Dali designs, although he doesn't cite a source for that number.)

Nevertheless, they are some of the most expensive ties to buy in that venue, far too pricey for my pocketbook. I think the least I've ever seen one go for is $65, and most of them go for over $100.00, some occasionally are listed as high as $250, although I didn't keep track of whether they actually sold or not. The prices may be coming down slightly these days, as more and more Dali ties seem to keep coming on the eBay market.

But I found mine the old-fashioned way! It was on a rack of used ties in a second-hand clothing store, where the proprietors obviously had no clue about what they had.

When I bought it, I didn't even know that Salvador Dali HAD designed ties, and although I saw the stylized Dali signature on it right away, I didn't know for sure if it was real or not. That is, I didn't know if it referred to the REAL Dali, namely Salvador Dali. It wasn't until several years later, when I bought (or someone gave me) a copy of the book Fit to Be Tied: Vintage Ties of the Forties and Early Fifities by Rod Dyer, Ron Spark, and Steve Sakai, and I found several images of Dali ties in the book, that I was able to confirm that I had a genuine Dali, too.

The book is a must have for any vintage tie fan. Full of beautiful full-color pictures of vintage ties from the collection of Dr. Ronald P. Spark, listed as one of the authors, it provides the best documentation for the era's ties of which I'm aware. One of the ties I own appears on the cover--well, it's not MY tie, per se, but a picture of the same tie design which Dr. Spark obviously owns as well.

But none of the Dali designs depicted in the book is mine, and in fact, I've only ever seen my design elsewhere one time, when a different colored version of it appeared on eBay. I thought I saved a copy of that image, and/or obtained one from the K.N.O.T. website, but I can't currently locate it on my hard drive, or on the K.N.O.T site. If it turns up, I'll add it to this post later.

So what to say about the tie itself? It has the title "Extravaganza," printed on the inside of the wide end of the tie. See the closeup image provided. You'll have to look closely. The word is written in pale blue letters on the dark blue background, vertically up the left side of the tie, to the immediate right of the pale blue spear-shaped section that points up along the lower left side of the image with the label on it. Look carefully, and you'll spot it.

Looking at the Extravaganza design itself, one sees (on the second image nearest the bottom of the tie) a stylized image of a woman in red, with her arms reaching up above her head. She is ensconced in the middle of a red ring that is filled with floral excrescences eked out in shades of white. Further up the tie (you'll have to look at the first image) you see a similar shaped object decked out in the same colors, only this one is a rose, not a woman.

So is Dali making a not-so-subtle equation of a woman with a beautiful flower, specifically a rose? Is he equating womanhood with the beauty of a flower? Ephemeral, etc.? We are all mortal, men and women alike, of course, and whatever beauty or other virtues we may have are indeed transitory.

I'll leave the rest of the symbolism up to the individual interpretation of whoever is reading this, or looking at the images. Your comments are naturally welcome.

Finally, the last image shows the stylized Dali signature in a more closeup view. Every vintage Dali tie I've seen pictures of has the signature in exactly this same position on the tie. The tie has one sewed in label which reads:
made and styled in


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 100 ties posted... and on such a fantastic tie for the occasion. Michael

JIm said...

I have two Dalis that I found the old fashion way, too. Twenty five cents each!

Glad I found your site. Do you know of the Fedora Lounge website? There's lots of discussion on vintage hats and clothing.


Will said...
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Will said...

Hi Jim,

Congrats on having found TWO Dali ties the old-fashioned way!

I took a look at the Fedora Lounge site last night. Quite interesting, although I've always been slightly prejudiced against black backgrounds on web sites.

I was disappointed, though, when I found the "Show us your ties" thread located here: and only one of the images was visible in my browser. All the rest were broken.

6:27 PM

Jim said...

That particular thread has been going on for quite a while. I think the images have disappeared from the early posts. There are plenty of photos in the later posts (some include mine...).

I own the book Fit To Be Tied, also. I bought it probably twelve years ago and still find it fresh to look at every once in a while.


Jackie Diano said...

Hi Will,

Beautiful Dali tie! I've been on your blog several times, and hope to create one of my own. As a woman I never thought I'd be bitten by the tie collecting bug, but as is often the case which people who surround themselves with things vintage, I did, and I now have a collection that includes designers such as Salvador Dali ( a dancer from ebay, and "flaming woman" from the local thrift) , Schiaparelli, Countess Mara, Lilly Dache (her mirror image tie that reads "Hello Handsome" is my favorite), Fornasetti, Pauline Trigere, Christian Dior, and Hermes, and the Beatles, among others, which I plan to wear with a nice ladies pants suit. Men's ties are truly wearable pieces of art!

Now wearing some ties can be tricky for a woman. take the nudie or peek-a-boo ties. I finally bid on one on ebay - it's red and black plaid on the front, and a photo of a full frontal nude behind the tip wearing only a tie, hat and cane! Now that's more tasteful. I simply had to have this kind of tie to round out my growing collection!

My story can be found on my new website

I was going to showcase my personal ties on my website, but my fiance didn't think that would be a good idea, so i hope to do so on the KNOT website, where I am a member.

I really like your blog (as well as Burl's) and plan to start one myself. There are so many cool vintage ties out there and as many creative and artistic designs on these odd shaped accessories that essentially lost their function once shirt buttons were introduced!

Sincerely, Jackie Diano

Will said...
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Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will said...

Thank you! Jackie Diano for your perceptive and intriguing comment! I appreciate your post, and have already spent some time perusing the ties on your website.

Unfortunately (for the sake of your business), I'm a cheapskate when it comes to collecting my ties. I'm rarely willing to pay more than $10.00 for a tie, and I prefer to buy them in the under $5.00 range, although I will admit it's becoming more and more difficult to find them that way.

For example, I love your vintage 40's leaf tie but can't imagine paying $45 for it, although I'm sure it's probably worth every penny. The other vintage leaf tie is one that is actually already in my collection; I blogged it back in November of 2007.

Again, thanks for the comment, and welcome to the world of blogging ties!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been collecting vintage ties for over 30 years and I believe that there are about 100 different designs by Dali,, I have almost 80 different designs and about 100 duplicates in different color combinations.
The ties that I most desire are the hand painted abstract ones on silk from the 1940's, and would be willing to trade my duplicate Dali's against them.

Dee said...

I just came across a Dali tie with the marking Imperial Peacock on the back. Anybody interested before I put it on ebay? contact Dee at