The Margin: Here’s how much 1880s Levi’s jeans just sold for at auction. Can you wear them?

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Stock Market

A pair of Levi Strauss jeans from the 1880s, naturally worn with dirt and candle wax in a way that modern distressing can only try to mimic, just sold for arguably the highest price ever for vintage denim at auction. Kyle Haupert, a 23-year-old vintage clothing dealer from San Diego, bought the pants for $76,000 at an auction on Oct. 1, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Haupert put up 90% of the winning bid, while the remaining 10% came from Zip Stevenson — that’s right — who’s been behind the Los Angeles shop Denim Doctors since 1994. 

The Levi’s will find new life, or a preserved spot in a collection, after they were recovered a few years ago from an old mine in New Mexico by a seasoned amateur “denim” archeologist named Michael Harris who has a track record of finding coveted vintage worker’s clothes for today’s discerning buyers. The sale was part of the Durango Vintage Festivus, a four-day clothing market that has grown with increased interest for thrifting and resale from Generation Z. Demand is perennially strong for classic pairs and newer reissues from the San Francisco-based clothier
long a private concern that returned to public trading in 2019.

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