In this exclusive interview with the seller, Rope Dye record how a pair of vintage Levi’s 501 jeans have remained untouched and unworn since the late 1950’s
Yesterday, we brought you the story of a pair of vintage Levi’s 501 jeans for sale on eBay. Now, you may be thinking, “so what, that stuff comes up all the time.” Not like this they don’t. The jeans are over 60 years old, in pristine condition with flashers and guarantee ticket still intact and attached. Totally unwashed and unworn! This is the rarest of the rare in terms of denim finds. We see examples of late 50’s Big Es coming up now and again; well worn and well loved with some sick fades.
Telling the Tale of this Insane Closet Find
To see a pair looking like they were just store bought gives us the shivers. This is their story.
Texan, Jordan Nolan is the man selling these vintage Levi’s 501’s. When we got wind of the eBay auction we dropped him a line. He was kind enough to get back to us with the full tale of just how these jeans came to be unworn for so long, how he almost started wearing them himself, and how close they came to falling into insalubrious hands.
It all started back in the late 50’s in Clovis New Mexico. Jordan’s great great grandmother bought these jeans for her recently married son in either 1956 or 1957. Jordan’s grandfather preferred a different style and never got around to return these 501’s XX to J.C Penney’s or Sears (he’s not sure which store). Somehow, the jeans sat in three different closets, and survived several garage sales and various moves.
They Sat In A Closet For 30 Years
Raised by farmers from the Great Depression, Jordan’s grandmother was not the kind of lady to get rid of a perfectly good pair of jeans. They were left alone in a closet in Amarillo, TX from 1967 until 1997 when Jordan’s grandfather passed away. Jordan’s mother must be an astute lady, she found them and realised that they may be worth something.
Back in 2000, she tried to find a buyer for the jeans. She found a guy who looked them over and then informed her that they were not worth much at all. See the split patch, this is the goings of that guy. Given the surge in popularity of vintage American denim over in Japan at this time – and particularly rare vintage Levi’s 501’s – the guy was either ignorant to the market or trying to put one over on Jordan’s mum.
Either way, Jordan is very glad that he didn’t get his hands on these jeans.
The eBay Auction
Cut to present day. Jordan and his wife have been selling odds and ends on eBay recently. His mum handed over the jeans for him to sell. When he got them, he looked them over and thought to himself:
“It would be nice to have another pair of jeans and these 501’s seem pretty cool, and they are my size.”
[infobox title=’HOW TO DATE VINTAGE LEVI’S’]
Luckily, Jordan’s wife reminded him that he had plenty of jeans. He grudgingly agreed with her. And thank goodness because apparently he was 10 seconds away from cutting off the tags and trying them on!
When they went up on eBay they were listed as a Buy It Now for $200, and were sold in 5 seconds flat. Then came the deluge of offers for $2000 plus. Given the circumstances, he felt justified in cancelling the transaction and relisted them at a price that reflected their rarity.
Vintage Levi’s 501’s Going To A Good Home
Jordan and his family are happy to see the jeans go to someone who will truly appreciate them, and the cool thing is what he will do with the money. We uber denim geeks may be confounded by the fact that he is parting with these jeans, but they will buy a swing set for his kids and a new bed for his grandmother. Apparently, the old one is as old as the jeans. Pretty fair, we think.
The eBay auction runs until Saturday November 15 and the jeans are already sitting at almost $5000. We will keep an eye out and let you know of any developments.
In case you missed the article about all the details of the jeans, read it here.