Levi’s Jeans Recovered From A Shipwreck Sold At Auction For $140,000
— 8 December 2022

Levi’s Jeans Recovered From A Shipwreck Sold At Auction For $140,000

— 8 December 2022
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

A pair of vintage jeans recovered from one of America’s most consequential shipwrecks has recently fetched an impressive US$95,000 (AU$140,000) at auction.

Recovered from the SS Central America AKA “The Ship of Gold,” which was sunken by a hurricane 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina circa 1857 (claiming 425 lives in the process), these Gold Rush-era “miner’s pants” are believed to be an early manufacture sold by Levi Strauss himself.

“These pants appear new, probably bought in San Francisco by Dement,” explains the official description posted by auction site Holabird.

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“They are markedly different than any other pants found in either the Dement or Easton trunks, and appear to be miner’s pants.”

“The five button fly is nearly identical, if not technically identical, to Levi’s of today, inclusive of the exact style, shape, and size of the buttons themselves. We do not believe this to be a coincidence.”

The fabric’s original colour is unknown, with the blacks and browns currently visible now being fugitive stains from the trunk and its other contents.

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Levi's Jeans Recovered From A Shipwreck Sell For $140,000

Vintage jeans aside, additional artefacts found amongst the same shipwreck include a mysterious daguerreotype of a woman (dubbed the “Mona Lisa of the Deep” by the recovery team), jewellery made from California Gold Rush “mother lode” native gold in quartz as gemstones, pistols, eyeglasses with solid gold frames, as well as approximately 30,000 pounds of gold mined in California. Hence “consequential.”

The loss of life was practically unseen in the history of the young nation, and the economic implications were significant, too,” writes Katie Down of SFGATE.

“The Panic of 1857 was, in part, precipitated by the shipwreck; failing New York banks had been anxiously awaiting that cash influx to fill their empty coffers.”

Incidentally, back in October of this year, yet another pair of Levi’s jeans from the 1880s sold to a San Diego-based specialised clothing dealer for US$76,000 (AU$113,000), proving once and for all that vintage is in.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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