Would you be willing to spend over $46,000 for a pair of jeans? The answer, most likely, is NO. However, if you are a collector and denim connoisseur, this may seem like a small price to pay to have your very own piece of American History.
The oldest pair of Levi’s, circa 1879 was purchased in 2011 for $46,000. The jeans are actually insured at a value of $150,000. They live in their own refrigerated type drawer lined in white cloth. Only to be handle with kid cloves, literally. The jeans, along with 7,500 other denim garments, live in the history vault at Levi Strauss.
What is amazing, however, is the look of these iconic jeans, isn’t too far off what we wear today. To prove this, Levi introduced an exact replica to their vintage clothing line last fall. The price for the replica, a measly $250.
The first pair of riveted denim jeans was patented by Levi Strauss and his partner Jacob Davis in 1872, so this ancient pair of pants isn’t far removed from the founders’ original vision.
The 132 year old jeans, showcase a buckle-back cinch, to allow for sizing. The beautiful creases in the jeans, impeccable, they show of years and years of hard work and classic Americana.
Initially, jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by factory workers. During this period, men's jeans had the zipper down the front, whereas women's jeans had the zipper down the left side. By the 1960s, both men's and women's jeans had the zipper down the front. Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of bib overalls without the bib. Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss called its flagship product "waist overalls" rather than "jeans".
Enjoy the photos of the oldest pair of jeans, and appreciate how far we have come.