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So-called ‘oldest’ pair of denim jeans sell for $100,000 at auction

Collector in Thailand had winning bid at Durango Vintage Festivus
A pair of Levi's jeans, believed to be made in 1873, making them the oldest known pair of such jeans in the world, sold for $100,000 Saturday night during the Durango Vintage Festivus. (Courtesy of Brit Eaton)
Sep 29, 2023
Durango Levi’s collector to auction off ‘oldest’ pair of jeans

A pair of Levi jeans, believed to be the oldest in the world, sold for $100,000 Saturday night at the Durango Vintage Festivus held at Tico Time River Resort near the Colorado-New Mexico state line.

The jeans, believed to be made in 1873, were found about 20 years ago in a Nevada mine. They were in rough condition, with part of the lower left leg missing.

The jeans were sold to an online bidder in Thailand, who had the winning bid as of 10 p.m. Saturday, Eaton said. He declined to identify the buyer, but described the individual as a wealthy collector.

“I've seen his collection before and it is beyond belief,” Eaton said.

The buyer ended up paying $115,000 after the 15% auction fee.

The jeans were in the possession of a Japanese collector for about 10 years, but Durango collector Brit Eaton bought them as part of a trade in October 2022 and decided to sell them during the second annual vintage clothing auction.

“The 1873 Levi’s were the marquee item in our auction,” Eaton said.

Eaton said he believes it sets a new world record for the most ever paid for a vintage pair of denim jeans.

Eaton was hoping to fetch $150,000 to $300,000 for the jeans, but he said he’s happy with meeting the reserve price.

“It was great event,” he said of the festivus. “Everyone left … entertained. And that was the main reason that I bought them in the first place.”


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