Vintage jeans from 1857 sold for $114,000 - GulfToday

Vintage jeans from 1857 sold for $114,000

A pair of work pants from the SS Central America is seen in a warehouse in Sparks, Nevada. AP

Gulf Today Report

A pair of miner's jeans pulled from a log dating back to 1857 in a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina has been sold for $114,000.

These work pants, which auction officials said are the oldest known jeans in the world, are characterized as durable, with five buttons, and were sold among 270 artifacts dating back to the era of the gold rush, for a total amount of nearly one million dollars in Reno,” according to Holabird Western American Collections.

There is a dispute over whether these expensive pants have any connection with the first father of modern blue jeans, Levi Strauss, who preceded him by 16 years as the first pair officially manufactured by Levi's in San Francisco in 1873.

Some say that historical evidence indicates a link between him and Strauss, who was a wealthy wholesaler of dry goods at the time, and that the pants could be a very early version of the jeans that have recently become iconic in the fashion world.

But company historian and archivist Tracy Pannick says any claims about its origin would be pure speculation.

"The pants are not Levi's, and I don't think they are miners' work pants," she wrote in an email to reporters.

She said that Levi's & Co. and Jacob Davis (Renault tailor) obtained a US patent in May 1873 for "improvements in pocket openings."

Months later, the company began manufacturing the famous "Levi's 501 Jeans," the first modern blue jeans.

It stated before the auction that what was found in the shipwreck does not have a company trademark such as patches, buttons, or the like, and the innovation was patented in 1873.

Regardless of its origin, it cannot be denied that the jeans were made before the sinking of the SS Central America in a hurricane on September 12, 1857, which was packed with passengers who had started their journey in San Francisco, and were on their way to New York via Panama, and there is no indication it dates back to the gold rush era.

Other items sold at auction, which had been buried for more than a century in the shipwreck deep in the Atlantic Ocean, included the observer's keys to the treasure chamber, where tons of gold coins and calibration dies were stored, and sold for $103,200.

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