PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — There are vintage jeans. And then there are the 123-year-old jeans up for sale in Maine.
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 Saturday in Maine.
Daniel Buck Auctions & Appraisals said 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 year on public television’s “Antiques Roadshow.”
The jeans were purchased in 1893 by a store keeper 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.
He was a big fella.
The cotton jeans with button fly feature a size 44 waist and 36-inch inseam.
Unlike modern Levi’s, the jeans in those days had only a single back pocket. There were no belt loops; folks back then used suspenders. 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, Soules said Saturday evening.
Such jeans are valuable. A pair of 501 jeans manufactured in the 1880s sold for $60,000 to a Japanese collector in 2005, Soules said, and another pair, from 1888, sold six months ago for six figures.
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