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Vintage Levis Jeans First Bought In 1893 Sells For Nearly $100K

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The 125-year-old pair of Levi Strauss jeans was sold through a private sale. The vintage denim was originally owned by a storekeeper who established one of the first American dry goods stores in Tucson. Pictured is a Levis jeans featuring the two horse logo.  ( Mike Mozart | Flickr )

A pair of Levi Strauss jeans first purchased in 1893 sold for nearly $100,000. The vintage Levi Strauss & Co. blue jeans was sold through an unnamed buyer earlier this month after failing to sell at an auction two years ago.

Sold Through Private Sale

The exact amount paid for the 125-year-old denim nor the name and exact location of the buyer were not disclosed because of the sale agreement, but the buyer is reportedly from Southeast Asia.

Daniel Buck Soules, from Daniel Buck Auctions in Maine who worked on "Antiques Roadshow", however, was able to provide some insights on the sale.

Soules offered the jeans up for auction in 2016. Unfortunately, a computer glitch botched the online bidding and the owner decided to have the jeans sold through a private sale.

"It's somebody who loves old Levi's," Soules said.

The buyer sent a representative to Maine to inspect the century-old jeans before this was purchased on May 15.

First Owner Was A Storekeeper

The jeans were originally bought by Solomon Warner in 1893. Warner was a storekeeper in the Arizona Territory who established one of the first American dry goods stores in Tucson. He also survived after Apache Indians shot him in 1870.

The vintage cotton jeans with button fly suggest that its original owner was not a small man. It has a size 44 waist and 36-inch inseam.

Vintage Jeans

The denim was produced at a New Hampshire mill and the jeans was manufactured by Levi's in San Francisco.

It does not look much like the modern Levis. Jeans back in earlier days only had a single back pocket and no belt loop since men preferred to use suspenders in those days.

Prior to being sold, the jeans were stored in a trunk for decades. It was nonetheless in good condition since Warner used them only a few times before he fell ill.

Market For Vintage Jeans

There appears to be a market for rare and vintage jeans.

A Japanese collector, for instance, bought a 501 jeans from the 1880s for $60,000. Another pair of jeans from 1888 was bought for six figures.

In 2015, vintage jeans "miner" Michael Allen Harris revealed that his father-in-law dug up a pair of Levis from 1873, the year the blue jeans were first manufactured.

"I wish we could keep them for our personal archives, but recently I had an offer of about $100,000," he related. "My father-in-law doesn't want to sell them and neither do I, but I have two daughters to put through college, so they might have to go."

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