In the early 1990s, when Mark Levay was 6, he saw a hat featuring “Bucco Bruce,” the knife-biting swashbuckler who adorned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ helmets from 1976 to 1996.“They’ve been my favorite team since then,” said Levay, a Mishawaka, Ind., resident who has never lived in Florida. “No real reason I picked them, I just thought they had a cool logo.”Levay held on to a lot of his old graphic T-shirts, hoodies and hats from three decades ago and still sometimes wears them. Vintage team gear, no matter whom you root for, can be a point of pride. It can signal you’re no bandwagon jumper. It can provide a boost of feel-good nostalgia. Some people think it just has more personality.There’s a reason teams across sports sell throwback apparel featuring outdated logos and colors. It sells. But for true connoisseurs of vintage shirts, imitations won’t do.“I can spot the fakes or the reprints a mile away,” said Aiden Devore, co-owner of St. Petersburg’s Curated Heat, a vintage clothing store on Central Avenue with a window display dedicated to teams such as the Bucs, Rays, Gators and Seminoles. “Urban Outfitters tries to replicate them, but that virgin cotton on those new sweatshop tees will never be the same as the real thing.”If you didn’t hold onto your old stuff or raid your parents’ or grandparents’ closets before they hit Goodwill, owning a vintage piece could cost you. World Thrift in St. Petersburg this week had a tie-dye Bucs shirt from the ’90s ($50), and a matching hat and shirt commemorating the team’s Super Bowl 37 victory ($30 each) in stock. In Clearwater, there’s Full Court Classics, which ships vintage athletic apparel around the country.With vintage T-shirts in general, Devore said that often the more over-the-top and obviously dated they are, the better. With 1990s fashions trending in recent years, the NFL’s old Zubaz line of zebra-striped apparel — labeled by Inside Sports in 1993 as one of the “worst things to happen in sports” that year — are highly coveted. So are the Magic Johnson T’s brand NFL team shirts with an all-over print that screams ’90s.But when it comes to the Bucs, it’s all about the “creamsicle,” as the team’s now-defunct orange jerseys are belovedly known.“I get people who come in specifically asking, ‘Do you have any creamsicle?’ " Devore said. “There are people who aren’t even Bucs fans. Walking around New York, you’ll see people and they’re wearing old creamsicle (stuff), and you’re like ‘You like the Bucs?’ And they say ‘Nah, I just like the colors.’ "Devore said he has seen a vintage creamsicle “puffer jacket” by Starter sell for $300 and said he has himself sold Bucs pieces for $150. The Bucs T-shirts in his shop currently range from $15 to $100.Even more valuable than regular vintage is “deadstock,” meaning the item is old and no longer produced, but it’s in like-new condition with tags. Christian Nold, 27, was eyeing a deadstock Bucs shirt listed on eBay for $600. When he received a late-night notification that the price dropped to $150, he bought it immediately and drove from St. Petersburg to Lakeland the next day to pick it up.The seller told him it came from a woman in Redington Beach who had owned a sporting goods store in the ’90s that closed, and whose home was filled with boxes of deadstock team shirts from the era — a gold mine.“It was still a lot for a T-shirt, but it’s so unique,” Nold said. “When I go to the bar or somewhere, it’s a point of conversation. You know you’re potentially the only person who has one.”If you’re hoping to find a gem for cheap, it’s not impossible, but it is getting more difficult.Mike Cline Jr., a Bills fan from New York who said Bucco Bruce items are some of his favorite to collect, scored a deadstock 1981 Bucs division championship T-shirt on Ebay for only $25. Devore got his favorite Bucs shirt — one from a radio station in 1979 that reads “Baaad Bucs” — for a few bucks at a yard sale.Bucs fan Sam Haught of Englewood found his dad’s old creamsicle windbreaker buried in a closet in mint condition during a recent move from South Carolina back to Florida. At 20, he was not even alive when the team wore orange, but he started wearing the jacket often and getting compliments from people, he said, “who don’t even watch football.”Vintage Tampa Bay sports items always sell well, but interest in Bucs stuff is up, said Nick Fanning, co-owner of World Thrift. “The No. 1 rule with sports stuff is the team has to be doing well, and we just so happen to be doing really well and have one of the most famous quarterbacks ever.” Tom Brady and the Bucs play at Washington on Saturday night, Tampa Bay’s first playoff game since the 2007 season.Shops such as Curated Heat and World Thrift will also buy vintage team apparel if you’re looking to cash in. “I’ve seen people donate shirts to thrift stores that are worth hundreds of dollars,” Devore said.Many fans, though, are not ready to let go. Stephen Smith, 54, of Tampa has had some of his decades-old Bucs gear since it was new. It brings back memories of going to games with his father in the ’70s, and he thinks it could bring good luck. He remembers wearing his 1990 Bucs polo the Friday before the Bucs-Eagles NFC Championship Game in the 2002 season. The Bucs won and a week later beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl.“Maybe I’ll do the same thing this Friday,” he said.We asked people to show us their vintage Buccaneers gear. Here are some of the photos we received.