Now the surprise part. Not one single jeans jacket in the store. Never mind size, there were none! Again, small town; no problem. Off to Walmart. Really? No jeans jackets in Walmart either?
Granted, I am not exactly a fashion plate and I don't follow trends, but when did a good old fashioned jeans jacket become a Yeti! Now I am on a mission. I just want a plain old Levi's jeans jacket, they look great, they're comfortable and now I not only want, but I need one. I tried every single store I could think of here in the Hinterlands of BC and could not find one new jeans jacket. When all else fails, off to my favourite hunting spot; eBay. Well hello and holy crap!
Levis were kind of the Ford Model T of the pants business. Contrary to popular belief, they were not manufactured for the California gold rush of the 1850's and 60's. Levi Strauss manufactured their first pair in the 1870's in response to requests for reinforced pockets and blown our zippers. They began manufacturing their jeans with copper rivets to reinforce the pockets and with buttons instead of zippers.
There is now a huge market for vintage Levi's. There a few things that make one pair more desirable than others. Here is a list of what to look for:
1.Does it have selvedge? I know, I had to look that one up. Selvedge is the technical term for the narrow, tightly woven self-finished edges.
3. Is there a care tag? Beware of fakes and the new jeans made by Levi's Vintage Clothing. If you find a care tag, they were made after the mid 70's
4. If your jeans have a single stitch on the back pockets, your jeans are pre-1976 (or close)
5. Check the rivets. If the back pockets have hidden rivets and if the back plates of the rivets are silver coloured with lowered letters the jeans are post-1966. If the letters are raised and not lowered you are holding a pair of jeans made before 1960 and you may be holding onto a goldmine.
6. A true leather patch shows that your Levi's were made before 1960
7. If the front buttons have laurel leafs, they were produced before 1939. You are holding a very valuable pair of jeans.
8.The cinch. Does it have one? You probably have never owned a pair of these but Levi made them up until 1937
9. Size- You can have a pair of jeans that have all of the above mentioned markers and if they are size 58, they're still not going to be anywhere near the value of a pair of 30/32 or 32/32 jeans. When it comes to Levi's, size matters.
(Thanks to denimhunters, https://www.denimhunters.com/2013/05/guide-how-to-date-levis-501-jeans/ for the information)
Levi 501's of any age are valuable. Even mid 1970 and mid 1980's 501's can fetch in the thousands of dollars. The most valuable pair ever? About $60,000 for a pair of 501's from about 1880. Levi's themselves bought 2 vintage turn of the century pair at auction for $36,000 and $46,000.
So if you have inherited your grampa's old wardrobe or dresser, don't despair. Take the time to go through them. You may have a fortune folded up in a box or drawer. Oh, and by the way; if you find a size 52 Levi's jeans jacket, please give me a call!