This Levi’s jeans from 1880s was sold for $76,000 in auction
A pair of jeans from the 1880s, which was excavated from a mineshaft a few years ago, was sold for $76,000 at an auction in northern New Mexico, making it one of the costliest pairs ever sold.
The buyer, a 23-year-old man, had to pay $87,400 for the Levi Strauss jeans after factoring in the buyer’s premium.
“I’m still kind of bewildered, just surprised in myself for even purchasing them,” Kyle Haupert, a clothing dealer from San Diego, told The Wall Street Journal, after the auction was closed.
Haupert bought the vintage jeans with Zip Stevenson, owner of Los Angeles-based vintage clothing company Denim Doctors.
While Haupert contributed 90 per cent of the winning bid, the remaining 10 will be put up by Stevenson.
Haupert said he relied on Stevenson’s expertise, saying, “He’s seen everything under the sun. I trust him to confirm that they are an authentic pair from the 1880s.”
Both are now planning to sell the jeans, with offers not anything less than $150,000.
The jeans were first discovered several years ago by Michael Harris, a self-described denim archaeologist, in an abandoned mineshaft in the American West.
Even though the pants are two centuries old, they appeared intact, barring a few holes and splitters. They come with a tagline “Made by White labor” on the back pocket, reflecting America’s complicated history.
It is said that Levis added the phrase on its products after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed, barring all Chinese labourers to the US for 10 years, even though they were very much part of the American economy.
According to the company’s statement, they adopted this strategy to improve sales. But a few years later they scrapped it.
“We thought it would improve sales and align with the views of consumers at the time."
"This continued into the 1890s when we reversed our policy," company officials said.