A segment from the first Pawn Stars episode of 2021 begins with a woman bringing in a rhinestone-studded suit. She claims the item, which her dad had "laying around the house forever," once belonged to Gibbons.
Series star and Gold & Silver Pawn Shop co-owner Rick Harrison said he'd call in an expert local to Las Vegas to take a look at the item. That expert ended up being Gibbons, who instantly recognized the outfit.
"We became clients with Nudie in 1972," Gibbons said. "What you have laid before me brings back a lot of memories."
The Nudie era for the Texas-born trio of Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard was immortalized on the cover of its 1975 album Fandango!, which came out the year after Gibbons lost the Nudie's Rodeo Tailors creation featured on Pawn Stars.
"The last time I laid eyes on this was 1974," Gibbons said. "I inadvertently misplaced it. I left in on an airplane. By the time I realized it was MIA, I called the airline and the cleaning crew had gone in. I completely thought this had vaporized."
Gibbons and Harrison split the $40,000 purchase, sending the woman home with way more than her initial $25,000 request. The new owners will donate the suit to Antoine's nightclub in downtown Austin for display in a planned blues museum.
Cohn and his wife Bobbie opened their first shop in New York in the 1930s. They relocated to Los Angeles, California in the '40s and would go on to dress just about any rhinestone cowboy or flashy rock 'n' roller you can name.
Other rock 'n' roll album covers showing off the creations of Nudie Cohn (born Nuta Kotlyarenko) include Elvis Presley's 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong (the one where he's wearing an over-the-top gold lamé suit) and Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin. Nudie-style outfits were also worn over the years by Elton John, John Lennon, Cher and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Country music stars also loved Cohn's work, with Tex Williams, Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton among his devotees.