19th-century Levi's jeans auctioned in New Mexico for over $87,000
A vintage and worn-out pair of Levi's jeans from the 1880s was recently sold at an auction in a small town in New Mexico, USA for over a whopping $87,000 (Rs. 71,58,494 approx). The ancient garment was discovered in an abandoned gold mine by denim archaeologist Michael Harris. They were purchased by 23-year-old Kyle Hautner, and Zip Stevenson, a vintage denim market veteran.
It is the oldest known Levi's jeans from that era
The jeans were sold at the Durango Vintage Festivus auction in New Mexico on October 1. Hailed as "the holy grail of vintage denim collecting," the second-hand jeans are believed to be one of the oldest known Levi's from that era. The price of the jeans included a 15% buyer's premium, and the price was the highest ever paid for a pair of jeans.
Jeans are extremely rare: Stevenson
According to reports, Hautner paid 90% for the jeans while Stevenson paid the remaining 10%. Stevenson, a denim enthusiast who has run a denim repair shop in Los Angeles for nearly three decades, confessed that he had never found a pair of jeans like this in his life. "Jeans are extremely rare — especially in this fantastic worn condition and size," he told CNN.
The jeans are durable and definitely can be worn: Stevenson
"The jeans are surprisingly durable, so they definitely can be worn," Stevenson said. "There were a couple of soft spots on the jeans that could use a bit of reinforcement but otherwise they're super-duper solid jeans," he added. "I could easily imagine Johnny Depp or Jason Momoa wearing them," Stevenson said. Stevenson first heard about the jeans about five years ago.
Harris has not found a pair of equal quality
According to Stevenson, Harris who discovered the jeans looked in at least 50 abandoned mines for five years but did not find a pair of similar quality. Only a few pairs like this exist and they are kept in museums since they are too delicate to wear. The label printed on the pocket interior reads, "The only kind made by White Labor."
The jeans with a 38-inch waist is 32-inch long
Discovered in the American West, the jeans have a 38-inch waist and is 32-inch long. It was covered in specks of wax from candles used by prospectors who were searching for gold in narrow tunnels. The jeans feature a single back pocket and suspender buttons.
The four-day auction festival was organized by Brit Eaton
The four-day auction festival was organized by vintage denim expert Brit Eaton who described finding vintage items like these as "a total addiction." "I needed a headliner that would rival the music acts I booked. I knew these jeans would be a major draw," Eaton said. Initially, Eaton didn't intend to sell them, but given their rarity, they got sold pretty fast.
Stevenson plans to sell the jeans to an interested private buyer
Stevenson plans to sell the jeans to an interested private buyer. However, he further added that the owners would prefer them to be bought and displayed in a museum. The jeans have been kept in a safety deposit box near Stevenson's Denim Doctor's store.