stock hunting 101 ~ can you dig it? (yuri rabinovitz x marseille 2005) January 03 2015

upon arriving in london back in late 2006, it was a welcome sight to see kids running around town in unmistakeable tangerine & burgandy vans originals. i recognised the vans from the infamous foot patrol cache that had me drooling over their website the years preceding. the original outlet still had said suedes available for £40 at that time & i regret not clearing them out of the last remnants.

opening the wilton way shop in late 2009, various examples of the footpatrol vans had popped up on ebay over the years & were now part of my inventory. countless times local heads would come in the shop & recount the story of their mate yuri & the legendary stockpile of original vans he discovered in the french countryside. i heard so many rumours over the years & thought it about time to dispel myth & hear the full story from the man himself.


yo yuri. you are living in france at the moment, & have spent time there over the years correct? can you confirm the vans were found in marseille?

So I was born in Marseille but I moved to London in 1988 with my parents. I decided to move back to france in sept  2009, so I’ve been back in Marseille for 5 years now. Always used to come back here for holidays through the years, so I kept good connections with people… I worked for Bond international from 1994 to 2002 then I worked for stussy at Gimme5...
describe the experience of discovering the stockpile. did you stumble upon them or were you following a lead some1 gave you?

The story goes like this; At the time, I used to work for Gimme5, I was running the stussy warehouse and the showroom among other things, and footpatrol was owned by us at the time… It was 2004, september,  I was in marseille for a break and I bumped into an old skater friend of mine… He was rocking a pair of canvas two tone era’s, straight away I noticed they were US ones. the shape.
I asked him where they were from and he pointed out a shop I used to know. 

was it a specialist skate/bike shop, a shoe shop or simply a sports store?

I went to this shop, it was a second hand shop. mainly vintage and army surplus gear in there, but he told me that right at the end of the shop under a rail full of army jackets I will find them.. so I did. The were selling them for 25 euros I think.

did you realise right away just what these guys were sitting on? could you see the extent of the stock initially?

they didn’t realized what they were sitting on, (but) they only had a few pairs in there. I asked the girl who was running the place if she knew if they had more…

how was your interest received by the owners?

She was the owner’s daughter, and she asked me why did I care? At the time people were more crazy about Nike dunks and the first big colabs had hit the markets, everyone wanted to be a sneaker collector. but the vans thing wasn’t really in back then. As for me I’ve been rocking vans since mid 80’s when I started skateboarding… 
Anyhow she said to me that her dad had a warehouse in the countryside and that they had quite a few pairs there if I wanted. they’d been there for 20 plus years...
I asked if she could make a list and pictures of what were there. She did.

they were early 90's stock right. are you aware of the origin of the vans, perhaps direct from the US or through a european distributor?

her father used to be married to an american girl back in the 80’s and he used to go over there and buy stock, he had them since.. but lost interest in the business and let his young daughter do her life with it..

as for the shoes themselves, how many pairs are we talking about & what did you pay per pair? i also found pictures, but only of chukkas.... but i also remember eras being available in FP & heard rumours of printed sk8-hi. can you confirm? & mostly suede right?

the stock was just under 600 pairs.. Mainly chukka’s and era’s , mainly sueded but some canvas too; most of which never went to the store . it was 5 colors ways in each.

the nature of finding original vans these days at least, means one is left with very big or very small sizes. you seemed to find only strong mens sizes though.

even though the sizes break down was uneven they had all sizes in everything… What a treasure, they were sitting on and didn’t have a clue.. 

so how did you go about sealing the deal?

She was very surprised when I asked her to meet her dad cos’ I wanted to buy the whole stock. I met the guy and negotiated  each pair for 10 euros (8 pounds) . I went to get them, shipped them and received the lot a week later…

was the stock always going to market? how did the foot patrol connection come about?
At the time I was working for gimme5 so it was easy for me to sell them in foot patrol.
We were approached by Vans who offered us to buy the stock back. We turned them down, but I think it really boosted their inspiration and not long after, maybe 6 months they started making classics again, and pretty much all the color ways we had were remade by vans… good for them… 

when you look back at that time/experience, does it still hold meaning for you? how do you feel about it now?

I’ve always been a vans fan, discovering these was like a magical moment in my life.. Once in a lifetime kind of thing. I like to think that we helped vans realizing what heritage they were sitting on… 
 Out of this batch I have kept a couple of dozen pairs for myself also I made sure that all the right people were given a pair for free..  slam city crew, skaters and all the cool kids..

did/do you make a habit of discoveries like this or was this a 'right place right time' experience?

I have a passion for made in USA vans and converse also. My all-time favorite is maybe the Lampin, probably the most comfortable vans ever made.....

would you call yourself a collector?

I could say that there was a time when I considered myself as a collector, but my values in life have changed, as i used to be obsessed with it. I wanted a new life based around friends family and quality living.. that’s why I moved back to france before i was too old to start a new life again... I still have quite a few pairs, they are my heritage, my souvenirs of a time where my life belonged to a materialistic values.. I had so much stuff through the years in london That I used to have to rent a storage to keep it all… it was ridiculous… In 2008 I sold a lot of my treasures Took a year off and travelled the world… 

lastly, i saw a picture of you wearing the tangerine chukkas & i have heard rumours..... have we seen the last of the stock??????

As for this stock yes I’m sorry but I think we’ve seen the last of it.. If not for the couple of special ones I kept for myself….
huge thanx to @yu_ri_13
pics via yuri & beingHunted