durango vintage festivus

Durango Vintage Festivus Will Auction 1873 Pair Of Levi’s Jeans

This week, from the 28th of September until the 1st of October, the second edition of the ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘ will take place. A unique event by denim hunter and reseller Brit Eaton a.k.a. Original Indiana Jeans. Brit has been selling antiques and vintage clothing since 1992. He had a store in Durango Colorado called Carpe Denim from 1997 to 2015. He’s going into abandoned houses, farms, and even old closed mines in search of old denim.

At this new edition of ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘, you can expect again four crazy denim days. The event will take place at the Animas River, just 20 minutes south of Durango, Colorado. It will be a gathering where the best vintage sellers, collectors, and like-minded people from all around the world come together to share, show, and sell their unique vintage styles.

The four days at ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘ are loaded with great content such as the Denim Olympics, flea market, bungee jumping, live auctions, live music, cocktail party, and many many more. Again, you can also book a tour of the warehouse of Brit Eaton. A must-see place because of the piles of very rare clothing styles.

The highlight of the event will be the auction where 138 very rare pieces will be for sale. The headliner of the auction will be the oldest pair of Levi’s jeans that dates to 1873 (or even older), the starting point of the American denim brand. The estimated price of this pair is around $150,000,- or even way more!

durango vintage festivus

The Levi’s Miner Pair From 1873

Last year during the ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘ a very rare pair of Levi’s jeans was auctioned for $76,000,-. This pair from the 1880s was owned by Brit Eaton and was bought by 23-year-old vintage clothing seller Kyle Hautner and Zip Stevenson, a veteran of the vintage denim market. This pair shaked up the denim industry and media from all over the world covered this exciting news. More about this pair here.

Now, it’s time for a follow-up at the 2nd edition of the ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘! An even older and rarer pair of original Levi’s miner pants will be auctioned during the event this Saturday. This time Brit Eaton is selling another gem of his private collection. A pair of Levi’s that documented to date to 1873, or even older. This pair is the ultimate headliner of the event! A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness that will go in the books of (denim) history!

In case you missed the recap of the first edition, here’s an hour-long documentary of the event. Included in the film is the auction of the 1880s pair of Levi’s jeans. Watch it here below.

The Front Details Of The Levi’s Waistoveralls

The auctioned Levi’s waist overalls is known as (currently!) the oldest pair of Levi Strauss in the world. Historian Michael Alles Harris, known for his must-have denim book ‘Jeans of the Old West‘ shared that this pair was probably produced during the first months of the Levi’s brand. This pair was originally found in a trash pile in a Nevada mining town in 1969. It measures a 33” waist and 27.5” inseam, 38” total top to bottom.

The waist overalls, nowadays called jeans, is made of a lighter-weight fabric than the usual pants from Levi’s. The fabric is woven as a 2 x 1 (2 by 1) weave construction. Normally, most jeans are woven with a 3 x 1 weave, which means that the weft is going over 3 warps and then under 3 wefts, and so on.

Durango Vintage Festivus

On the front of the left leg of the jeans, there’s a large patch attached. The rivets are not embossed, which was common in the first run of Levi’s jeans. A year later in 1874, so a year after the official registration of the patent of the rivet, they started to emboss them. More about the origin and the story of the birth of the rivet in a previous article here.

Durango Vintage Festivus

The coin (or watch) pocket is placed higher and is attached to the waistband. On one of the corners of the coin pocket, the rivet isn’t there anymore, probably fell off due to the fact that the fabric became weak after all these years lying in the trash pile. The crotch rivet is still attached to the jeans.

Durango Vintage Festivus

Durango Vintage Festivus

The Back Details Of The Jeans

On the back of the Levi’s jeans, there are holes in the legs and there’s a missing part at the bottom of the right leg. Rust spots can be seen around the holes. This isn’t achieved from the original usage of the jeans, but most probably because the jeans were caused by contact with iron pieces in the trash pile.

Durango Vintage Festivus

The jeans feature only one back pocket on the right (the second was attached around the early 1900s). The pocket is attached with exposed rivets that show a lot of oxidation. Also, there isn’t an arcuate stitching on the back pocket. Something that refers to the early production of Levi Strauss too.

Durango Vintage Festivus

In the middle of the waist back, you can see the stitching where a (probably) leather patch was stitched by the brand. Also, the cinch is still there, the same as a suspender button.

You can read and see more of this rare Levi’s pair in Michael Alles Harris’Jeans of the Old West‘ book on pages 39 – 44.

Durango Vintage Festivus

More Info About Durango Vintage Festivus

More info about the ‘Durango Vintage Festivus‘ can be seen on Brit Eaton’s Instagram feed here, and on the festival’s here.

You can follow and bid on the auction here: www.liveauctioneers.com/auctioneer/8424/durango-vintage-festivus

Durango Vintage Festivus

Durango Vintage Festivus

All the images of the Levi’s jeans are provided by Brit Eaton and made by Scott Rhea.

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.