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Expensive 1857 heavy duty miner’s trousers cost $114,000 and make Levi’s questionable

Reno, NV — Work pants pulled from the trunk of a shipwreck that sank off the coast of North Carolina in 1857, described by auctioneers as the oldest known pair of jeans in the world, sold for $114,000 .

Among the 270 gold rush-era relics that sold in Reno last weekend for a total of nearly $1 million, according to Holabird Western American Collections, were sturdy white miner’s trousers with five-button plackets. was included.

Opinions are divided as to whether these expensive pants have anything to do with the father of modern blue jeans, Levi Strauss. Because they’re 16 years older than his first pair, officially manufactured by San Francisco-based Levi his Strauss. Some say historical evidence suggests a connection to Strauss, a wealthy clothing wholesaler at the time.The pants were a very early version of what would later become the iconic jeans. It is possible that

However, the company’s historian and archival director Tracey Panek said any claims about its origin are “speculation.”

“The pants are not Levi’s and I don’t think they are miner’s work pants,” she wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

Regardless of its origin, there is no denying that the pants were made before the hurricane sinking of the SS Central America on September 12, 1857. Passengers began their journey in San Francisco and were on their way to New York via Panama. And there is no indication that the old work pants from the Gold Rush era exist.

“These miner jeans are like the first flag of the moon, a historic moment in history.

Buried for over a century in the wreckage of a ship 7,200 feet (2,195 meters) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, other auction items included Purser’s key to the treasure room, which contained a large quantity of Gold Rush coins and analyst’s ingots. was included. It sold for $103,200.

Tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold since shipwreck recovery began in 1988. Another auction is scheduled for February.

“Never before has there been anything quite like the range of these salvaged artifacts, which represent a time capsule of everyday life during the Gold Rush era,” said Fred Holabard, president of the auction house.

wells fargo lid & Co.’s treasure chest, believed to be the oldest of its kind, sold for $99,600. An 1849 Colt pocket pistol sold for his $30,000. His $20 gold coin, minted in San Francisco in 1856 and later stamped with an advertisement for a Sacramento drug store, brought in $43,200.

Most of the passengers on board the SS Central America left San Francisco on another ship, the SS Sonora, and sailed to Panama. When the SS Central America sank, 425 of her crew were killed and 153 were rescued.

A unique mix of artifacts ranging from San Francisco high society to blue-collar workers has piqued the interest of historians and collectors alike. The pants came from the trunk of John Demento of Oregon who served in the Mexican-American War.

“At the end of the day, no one can say with 100% certainty if these are Levi’s or not,” Manley said. But “these are the only known Gold Rush jeans that don’t exist in any collection in the world.”

Holabard, a scientist and historian who has been considered an expert on the Gold Rush era for more than 50 years, agrees, “So far, no one has suggested another museum.”

Panek said Levi Strauss & Co. and Reno tailor Jacob Davis received a US patent in May 1873 for “Improved Fixing of Pocket Openings”. A few months later, she said, the company started making its famous riveted pants.

Prior to the auction, she said the shipwreck pants had no company branding and “an 1873 patented innovation in patches, buttons, and even rivets.”

Panek added in an email to the AP this week that the pants “are not your typical miner’s work pants in our archives.” Unusual placket design,” and a non-denim fabric that is “lighter than the fabric used in early riveted clothing.”

Holabard said when Panek was examining the pants in Reno last week, there was no historical or scientific way to compare them to those made in 1873.

Between 1857 and Strauss’ introduction of the rivet-reinforced pocket, materials, product availability, manufacturing techniques, and market distribution all changed, says Holabard. He said Panek didn’t go against him.

Levi Strauss & Co. has long maintained that until 1873 it was strictly a wholesaler and did not manufacture clothing.

Holabird believes the pants were made by a Strauss subcontractor. He decided to “chasing the money, chasing the gold” and found that Strauss was reaching and selling to the market “at a level never seen before”.

“Strauss was the largest merchant to ship gold out of California in 1857-1858,” Holabard says.

The list of $1.6 million cargoes that left San Francisco on the SS Sonora for Panama in August 1857 was topped by Wells Fargo’s $260,300 gold. His five other big banks followed next, followed by $76,441 Levi Strauss. From 1856 to 1858, Levi Strauss made at least 14 similar shipments, each averaging $91,033, Holabard said.

“Strauss sells to every decent sized dry goods store in the gold fields of California, and there are probably hundreds from Shasta to Sonora and beyond,” Holabard said. “This guy was unexpected and an absolute marketing genius.”

“In short, his huge sales produce causes to be manufactured. He will have to contract with producers for the entire production.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7ny.com/heavy-duty-miners-pants-pricey-levis-oldest-pair-of-jeans-in-the-world/12555509/ Expensive 1857 heavy duty miner’s trousers cost $114,000 and make Levi’s questionable

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