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Friday 23 March 2018

Technical hitch holds up auction of 1883 Levi's

A pair of Levi 501 jeans dating from 1886-1902
A pair of Levi 501 jeans dating from 1886-1902

There are vintage jeans. And then there are the 123-year-old jeans up for sale in the US.

The bona fide Levi Strauss & Co blue jeans from the American Old West are still awaiting a new owner after technical glitches prevented the denim pants from being auctioned on Saturday in Maine.

Daniel Buck Auctions & Appraisals says the jeans are pristine because they were worn only a few times before the owner fell ill.

"They're brand-new Levis. They just happen to be 123 years old," said auctioneer Daniel Buck Soules, who worked for 11 years on the US Antiques Roadshow TV programme.

The jeans were purchased in 1893 by a shopkeeper in the Arizona Territory.

Solomon Warner established one of the first stores selling American goods in Tucson, and he survived being shot in an ambush by Apache Indians in 1870.

And he was no seven-stone weakling - t he cotton jeans with a button fly feature a size 44 waist and 36-inch inside leg.

Unlike modern Levi's, the jeans in those days had only a single back pocket and there were no belt loops - people back then used braces. The denim was produced at a mill in New Hampshire and the jeans were produced by Levi's in San Francisco.

Warner's jeans, which were stored for decades in a trunk, will be sold in the near future, Mr Soules said.

Such jeans are valuable. A pair of 501 jeans manufactured in the 1880s sold for 60,000 dollars (£48,300) to a Japanese collector in 2005, Mr Soules said. Another pair, from 1888, sold six months ago for a six-figure sum.


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