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How To Determine Production Date Of Vintage Levi’s Denim Jackets


For many denim lovers, hunting for worn and vintage jeans and jackets is a favourite hobby. Especially with vintage Levi’s denim jackets you can potentially make a big score, but there are certain characteristics of the design and production details you need to know.

Depending on where you live, you may find a number of second hand and thrift stores as well as more specialised vintage stores. The history of denim’s influence and the presence of certain brands in your country also influence what you’ll be able to find.

In concept vintage stores, you’re likely to find some interesting jeans, as well as other vintage pieces like leather jackets, shirts, and even boots. However, if you are looking for a real bargain most of the time you’re in the wrong spot; these people know the value of vintage Levi’s and similar, and you are going to pay for it.

This is Denimhunters' definitive guide about how you determine the production date of vintage Levi's denim jackets.

The vintage Levi’s denim jacket featured in this article has the following features:

  • 2 chest pockets
  • Small e tab on the chest pocket
  • No hand warmer pockets
  • Orange stitching
  • Single row stitching adjacent to the buttonhole
  • Label stating 70500 04

Based on extensive research on the topic, we’ve put together our guidelines for how to determine the production date of vintage Levi’s denim jackets.

Attempting to date vintage Levi’s 501 jeans? >> Here’s all you need to know!

Have a look below to find out how old your jacket is.

This is Denimhunters' definitive guide about how you determine the production date of vintage Levi's denim jackets.

Hand Warmer Pockets: Yes (mid 80 – present)

The first important and easy way to determine the difference in the period is looking if the jacket has two hand warmer pockets. If they are there then it’s from the mid-1980 until the present. In this period, Levi’s has produced a lot of colours and stonewashes. The jackets have four pockets and a small e tab.

Hand Warmer Pockets: No (71 – mid-80)

If your jacket doesn’t feature hand warmer pockets but still has the small e red tab it’s dating from 71 till mid-80s. To define the right period, there are subtle differences of the stitching adjacent to the bottom buttonhole.

Double row stitching: Yes (71 – mid-80)

If your jacket has a double row stitching adjacent to the buttonhole and only two chest pockets, then it’s from the same period, 71 till mid-80s.

This is Denimhunters' definitive guide about how you determine the production date of vintage Levi's denim jackets.

On page 2 you can learn how to spot if vintage Levi’s denim jackets were made before the 70s.

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Bill Holt March 31, 2013 at 12:36

Hey, Bence!

While I am no expert, I do know a couple of things.
One of those things is that there are MANY stylistic nuances to women’s
fashions, and Levi’s jackets were not spared that fate.

I don’t
see that as a problem, however. The gal who has my rapt attention is
like a clothing chameleon. I love that she’s a walking closet, as she
infrequently sports the same article, and I’ve never seen her repeat an
entire ensemble. She’s an interesting surprise upon each meeting. I also
picked up a very nifty Big ‘E’ jacket for her this past Christmas. It
had been uniquely embroidered and was biding its time in the Brighton
shop location of Beyond Retro. To the point of my reply here, the jacket
is ‘standard’ Levi’s, for want of a better term. I believe that, for a long time, Levi’s jackets were just viewed as utilitarian items, not the wardrobe staples and coveted historical gems they’ve become for style mavens and vintage denim aficionados. Then the awkward term ‘unisex’ was coined.

My ramblings aside, I’ve attached pictures
to aid my text. I included the pink Levi’s jacket for an obvious if
stereotypical reason: it was unmistakably designed, marketed and labeled
as a woman’s garment, though I haven’t appended other photos to support
that statement. Perhaps less obvious, If you can see the detail well
enough in this photo, is that the back yoke is ‘western’ style, in that
it forms a downward point which is not unlike the iconic Levi’s arcuate.
I have seen this on other Levi’s jackets which were conspicuously
advertised as being styled for ladies. That’s no guarantee of
gender-specific structure, for I have a 1994 Carhartt jacket with a
similar feature. Relative to Levi’s, however, I believe that this design
element was reserved for women’s styles. To remind you; I am not a real
expert, but I play one on T.V..

Moving into classic indigo
territory, the other three photos are of the same jacket, and it is
listed on eBay as a women’s model. Notice that the back yoke is
straight, but that the vertical seams are nearer the center of the
jacket and have a V-taper that is more pronounced than customarily seen
on a vintage ‘Trucker’ jacket. I would presume this was done so as to
accentuate the wonderfully feminine curves from waist to hip which help
define the female form. Maybe I’m just a perv. Ha! Regardless, several
variations on a theme emerged when Levi’s design eye turned with a
dedicated focus on ‘ladystyle’.

In the last picture, if you can
enlarge the image, you’ll see that this is not a truly ‘vintage’ Levi’s
jacket, simply based on the small ‘e’ pocket tab. That’s secondary to
the primary matter, though. What I probably should have said at the
outset, in the interest of saving time and getting directly to the
point, is that there’s ONE critical structural feature that should solve
your dilemma, Bence.

I’ve taken enough of your time, if ANYone
is even still reading this, so I won’t keep you guessing — although the
challenge of a puzzle is always fun.

Check the placket of the
jacket. I love that rhyme, unintentional as it was. In the last photo
you’ll clearly see that the buttons are on the left side, as worn, which
is the norm for women’s tops. Check any other ‘standard’ Levi’s jacket
that isn’t specifically labeled as a women’s model and you’ll see that
the placket buttons are on the right — the ‘man’ side.

vigilant. It may seem simplistic, but be aware of colors, finishes,
silhouettes or any other manufacturing appointments which differ even
subtly from Levi’s legendary, traditional styles and construction. This
practice can also help to keep you safe from the money-hungry beasts
which lurk in the deep, dark woods of counterfeit goods.

forth with manly confidence, Bence, and nevermore fret about
accidentally donning a Levi’s jacket which was designed for the
nicer-smellin’, better-lookin’ ones out there.

Bill Holt March 31, 2013 at 12:45

These photos didn’t send as the intended attachments. My reply was tedious and tortuous enough, these at least tie things together! Sorry, and thank you. : ]

Bill Holt March 31, 2013 at 12:45

These photos didn’t send as the intended attachments. My reply was tedious and tortuous enough, these at least tie things together! Sorry, and thank you. : ]

George Cox April 28, 2013 at 00:36

I have a Levi’s denim jacket from the late ’60’s. It has no flaps on the breast pockets. I haven’t seen one like this on-line. Can you tell me anything about this type? Thank you.

Hyeong Seop Kim April 28, 2013 at 10:26

Hi, i recently found this one. and want to know more about mine. please tell me anything if you can see something. thanks

Ray S May 17, 2013 at 00:36

Hi we have a jacket that appears to match the single row stitching with the small e (mid60s-71) but it has a stitch line just after the button hole which runs from the front around onto the inside can anybody identify this.

The label in the back has Levi Strauss & Co with San Franciso Calif under and the print is brown not red and stitched with black.

Hilda B June 25, 2013 at 03:24

i have a mustard color levi jacket with a buckle at the front,it has a white levi tab with capital letters and was made in the uk,anybody know what year it was made
Hilda b

George Hardy July 20, 2013 at 12:50

Hi guys, great post but I have a few questions about the jacket. I have two jackets without lower hand pockets and both single row stitching but one is made in Tunisia and the buttons are stamped T36, whereas the other does not say where it is made and is stamped T37. Does the T refer to factories in Tunisia? Also what is stamped on the jacket you bought?
Cheers, George

Quintanilla Annie July 27, 2013 at 17:50

Hi I have a childs levi jacket , all four of my children have wore it ,but it is I very good condtion it has very thing you have on your list, but it has snap on buttons, Can you tell me whats it’s worth?

scottmoran July 28, 2013 at 04:15

Hi I bought a pair of Levi with a red stitching on the inside back that says Levi’s in red thread the pockets say red and the label on the back say Levi’s red and the horses and the the jeans on the back label are solid red and the pockets are totally different cant find anywhere

Bill Holt March 11, 2014 at 11:00

That sounds — not so strangely — like the Levi’s RED line. I ‘read’ earlier in another Denimhunter article that this series was discontinued seven years ago after a short-lived stay in the marketplace. Apparently it’s been recently reintroduced.

karen dougherty October 16, 2013 at 21:13

I have a Levi number 70507 4890 do u know what it worth

ANJ November 22, 2013 at 14:20

Hi I have a Levi’s Sleeveless Denim jacket.
The label says: 96185-9059, SP 94, K 19
Can you tell me what that means?
Also, i like to know if its a limited edition, collectible.
Can you help?

ANJ November 22, 2013 at 14:20

Hi I have a Levi’s Sleeveless Denim jacket.
The label says: 96185-9059, SP 94, K 19
Can you tell me what that means?
Also, i like to know if its a limited edition, collectible.
Can you help?

Enni December 9, 2013 at 06:15

Hi I have a Levi jacket that says “Levi Sport Jean”. It’s hooded and has a patch that says “SJ”, how old is this sucker?

hlgaskins February 15, 2014 at 23:50

I have two Levis Jean Jackets from the late 1970’s (one faded one not faded). I know the date is right because I purchased them both new. As far as I know early Levis jacket Pre 1980 didn’t use “XL” lettered type sizing but I can’t say for certain. Both of mine came in numbered sizing with one being 42 and the other 46. The non faded Jacket has a slightly larger tag sewn just below the collar. Both Jackets were made in the U.S.A and both two pocket Jackets and both have a small red tag sewn on the left pockets.

Bill Holt March 11, 2014 at 10:09

Hey there!

I’m no expert, but as I like to say, I’ve learned just enough to enable me to thoroughly embarrass myself in the appropriate company. Ha! That said, it seems that you MIGHT only be interested in your jacket’s potential resale value. That’s certainly not a problem, but if that IS the case, I’m not particularly sorry to say that I don’t think the jacket would be ‘worth’ much more than what someone who wants a basic jacket would be willing to pay. ; ]

If there’s something elusive and coveted about a model like yours, collectors would likely know about it — and die-hard denim hunters would abandon any bargain-hunting poker faces if you had something of the rarest order, even if it meant paying dearly for the goodies. Do your homework. In the meantime, put your New Zealand-made orange-tab jacket on the auction block at eBay for a few hundred bucks as a reserve price and see if you generate any interest. I’m serious. Don’t fear being absurd. You TRULY never know until you try! Plus, as I admit to offering an inexpert opinion, the best answer to your question might be much weightier than I surmise it to be.

I don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of models and styles — see my opening statement. ; ] However, I do believe that I can say with certainty that an orange tab indicates a jacket which dates no farther back than the early 1970s, and which may not even go farther back than the late ’70s. If it is that old, while still technically ‘antique’, your jacket won’t be what is currently considered collectible in terms of seldom-seen relics like those you’ve read about in this article. Red-tab Big ‘E’? Then you’re at least in the ballpark of curiosity for someone who’d be looking for what would presently fit the bill as a desirable vintage Levi’s jacket.

I ‘met’ Thomas, Rope Dye founder, over a year ago here, after offering a couple of comments on this same topic. He kindly asked if I’d like to be kept in tow as a contributing writer. I’m oddly busy with so much other stuff that I’m not visiting as much as I’d like to be. I’m here today as a result of answering an e-mail request to renew my Rope Dye subscription! You didn’t ask about that, though. In fact, you didn’t ask for much of anything about which I’ve babbled. ; ]

I’ve corresponded with Lynn Downey, Levi’s dedicated company historian, primarily to answer questions I had about verifying the authenticity and approximate age of my own jacket. There are some intriguing gaps in Levi’s documented past which can be partly attributed to a loss of many production records following a factory remodeling in the 1960s.

Anyway, aside from still being cool because it’s a Levi’s jacket that may be nearly four decades old now, my suspicion is that unless yours is remarkably similar to one that someone had strong sentimental attachment to, its resale value is probably not astronomically high — but an eBay posting may be the determining factor. ; ] It’s rather amazing to see how much some people will pay for certain things. I’ve baffled myself with what I’ve occasionally paid for ‘enthusiast-grade’ items. Sorry for the unexpectedly lengthy reply. Ha! Peace!


FluffSweden April 3, 2014 at 17:49

My jacket is exactly like the one you found, except it says 70500 02. What does that mean?

Pat April 11, 2014 at 16:52

Hi there I have a 506xx Levi’s jacket. I’ve had this for 15 years. It has all the rivets, printed buttons, stitching etc. but there is a few things I need to be enlightened on to wether it’s original. The cinch buckle on the back is silver but the two spikes are brass. Also the red tab has capital letters LEVIS but on the reverse of the tab it has the same but upside down? Can anyone very this I’d be much appreciated.
Pat (UK).

bill April 14, 2014 at 18:54


Juniper July 3, 2014 at 03:59

Hi, any idea how to spot the difference between original 507XX jacket and 1996 Japanese reissue? Would really appreciate any insight you could offer!

Denimhunters July 3, 2014 at 08:49

Hi Juniper,
The reissue should have care tag, the original shouldn’t. Of course it could have been removed, so check the back of the bottoms as well.

Charles Butcher July 9, 2014 at 12:32

tips are really tremendous. Thank you for sharing with us. I think these tips
are really effective for all in real estate dealing.

Corduroy Jackets

Jurij July 24, 2014 at 20:50

I found a jacket type 2 . Inside,in the tag says M 70502 02 83
25363 12 93. 116. Made in Italy. Buttoned back-116. On the pocket tag with the small letter e.
This jacket is authentic? Sorry for my bad english!

Steve Berryhill September 23, 2014 at 06:41

I recently purchased a levi’s 70507 trucker jacket…single row stitching near waist button hole, 2 breast pockets, 2 side pockets, 2 interior pockets. buttons are silver not copper….L.S. Co. S.F. CA….., tag says…70507…size XXL small e red tag on breast pocket. Now, from everything the blog says about dating. I am at a loss with this…guy who sold it said it was 60’s but all info here says only 2 pocket trucker jackets in 60’s…please help date this damn jacket!

Denimhunters September 23, 2014 at 06:57

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your question. Would you please join our forum, start a thread, and ask it there?

Bernadette Dutka Hanson September 30, 2014 at 06:07

hello … I have what I believe to be a second edition (type II) LEVI’S , large E denim jacket. It has single stitching, a blanket lining, vertical pleats on front, 2 front pockets with flat flaps, and rivets on the forearm seams, above wrists. The label is long gone, but some of the stitching that was around it still exists. The collar is very worn at the neck, and split from wear.

Denimhunters October 1, 2014 at 08:56

Hi Bernadette,
Thank you for your question. The value of such a jacket become very much down to it’s patina and general condition. Also, you need to be 100% sure that’s it’s an original. The best way to determine it’s value would be to get in touch with Levi’s directly.