A pair of 140-year-old jeans just sold at auction for $87,400. Not only are they one of the most expensive pairs of jeans to have sold at auction, but they also tell a story about a horrific time in American history.
This week, we’re discussing a pair of jeans and this isn’t just any old pair of jeans. These actually capture a crucial and terrible part of American history.
On October 1, 2022, a pair of Levi’s jeans from the 1880s sold at auction for $87,400. On the interior is the phrase: “the only kind made by white labor.”
According to a Levi’s representative, the company used this slogan following the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. during the heyday of anti-Chinese sentiment and discrimination.
Levi’s also adopted an anti-Chinese labor policy, but in the 1890s Levi’s actually scrapped this policy and dropped the tagline.
These aren’t just a pair of vintage jeans. They’re a lot more than that.