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San Diego Man Spends $87,000 On 140-Year-Old Pair of Levi’s With Dark Past

A man in San Diegan has paid $87,000 for a pair of 1880's Levi's.

NBC 7 San Diego says the Levi's Sold at Auction for $76,000, coming to a total of $87,000 with a 15% buyer's premium.

Kyle Haupert, a San Diego resident who also deals with vintage clothing, and his partner, Zip Stevenson, a Santa Rosa native and owner of the vintage clothing company Denim Doctors, purchased the pair of jeans.

The rare item, which was found in an old mineshaft, was sold with a winning bid that was more than 1,144 times the retail cost of the lowest-priced jeans currently available on Levi’s online store.

The jeans have splatters and holes, but are mostly intact. Stevenson’s newest old item offers a snapshot of the era they were produced — imprinted on the inside pocket are the words, “Made by White labor.”

The San Francisco-based company said the phrase was added on its products after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited all Chinese laborers to the U.S. for 10 years, even though they had already made contributions to the country.

Levi’s said in a statement that during that era, the thought was that the slogan would “improve sales and align with the views of consumers at the time."

"This continued into the 1890s, when we reversed our policy," company officials said.

Levi's added that it is fully committed to “advocate for real equality and to fight against racism in all its forms as it persists today.”

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