They’re real and they’re spectacular!

What is a Vintage or Collectible Levi’s® garment?

It’s the size 28 jeans you wore in 1970 that’s stuffed in the back of your closet waiting until you lose enough weight to wear them again.  The 501® jean made with gold rivets for the 1984 “Levi® Blues” campaign (yes, we have these). Your grandfather’s old work jeans you just couldn’t give away?

These are some examples of Vintage and Collectible Levi’s® Jeans. If you ever want to part with them there is a collector who would be happy to take them off your hands.

Did you know? The original name of  pants produced by Levi Strauss & Co. were Levi’s® Waist Overalls?

Levi’s® Waist Overalls had a one pocket, a cinch on the back to adjust the size, suspender buttons, exposed rivets on the back pockets, and a rivet on the crotch.  When did Levi Strauss & Co. start calling them “jeans?  How do you know if you have an authentic pair?

In the late 19th century, Waist Overalls was the usual name for work trousers.  The first Levi’s® Waist Overalls were meant to be worn over your street clothes. After 1900 they were just called “overalls”. It wasn’t until the 1960 that Levi Strauss & Co. officially called them “Jeans”.

How do I know if mine are authentic Levi’s® Jeans? There are a lot of knockoff’s around so make sure you have the real thing.  There are a vast number of changes to Levi’s® Jeans since 1873. I have chosen a select number of product details that will help you determine the legitimacy and era or your Levi’s® jeans.  For a more comprehensive list visit Levi Strauss & Co. Heritage Timeline (pg 10-12).
Rivets: 1873 – Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis are granted a patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”.  The rivets were  place on the back pocket and crotch .  1937 – Rivets were covered due to customer complaints that they were damaging furniture (and saddles). 1966 – Rear pocket rivets were removed and replaced by “bar tacks”. c1941 – Crotch rivet was removed during WWII to conserve raw material (the folk-lore is that Walter Haas had it removed after it heated up while too close to a campfire) but it was the U.S. government that caused LS&CO. to remove the rivet from the jeans.

Red Tab: 1936 – first red Tab is placed on the right back pocket. The “LEVI’S” is all capitalized.  1950’s – The word “LEVI’S” is printed on both sides of the tab.  1971 – The letter “L” remains a capital letter and the rest of the letter are small, “Levi’s®”.

Selvage: The selvage is the inside of the outside seam. A “red line” selvage is a status mark of distinction.  Products produced by LS&CO. have been made with denim since 1873 but 501® jeans weren’t made with the Cone Mills XX 28.5″ “red line” denim until 1927.  In part due to movies from Hollywood’s Bad Boys, in the 1950’s the “red line” selvage became a status symbol of the “rebellious youth” who turned up the cuffs of their jeans so you could see they were wearing a 501® jeans. Cone Mills discontinued production of the xx denim in the mid 80’s.  However, in 1996 the “red line” denim was reintroduced in limited production for the Levi’s Vintage Collection.

Patch: 1886 – Two Horse® brand leather patch is used on the waist overall.  Late 1950’s – The leather patch is replaced with a heavy-duty card stock known as “leather-like” patch. Since the introduction of the “leather-like” patch there have been many changes to the way the style number is written but the Two Horse® brand identity has remained constant.

Happy Hunting!

Below is a copy of original patent filed in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss.


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