Searching through an abandoned mine can sometimes turn up something other than old beer cans and timbers. A rare pair of Levi jeans from the 1880s, found in an abandoned mine by a “denim archaeologist,” sold at auction in New Mexico for $87,400. The jeans were bought by Kyle Hautner, 23, a vintage clothing dealer, and Zip Stevenson, a veteran of the vintage denim market and owner of a denim repair shop. The price is one of the highest paid for a pair of denims. Hautner paid 90%, while Stevenson contributed the remaining 10%. The jeans were discovered about five years ago by a collector who calls himself a “denim archeologist” and said he searched about 50 abandoned mines looking for abandoned jeans.

An inside imprint in the pocket of the jeans, which are being stored in a vault for a possible future sale, reflects a dark history. The imprint reads “The only kind made by White Labor.” A Levi’s spokesperson is quoted as saying the slogan was used after the introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which barred Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. The policy and the slogan were dropped in the 1890s. The act was repealed in 1943.

levi strauss jeans 1880s

Photo: Durango Vintage Festivus



One response to “Levi Jeans from the 1880s Sell for Nearly $90,000”

  1. kanzaann says:

    Where does a 23 year old get that kind of money to “invest” on old denim, I wonder.

Leave a Reply

Featured Articles