Fascinating. An eBay auction just closed for a pair of Levi’s from the 1890s. Winning bidder’s forking out over thirty-six grand. Plus shipping and insurance. The description:
This old pair of LEVI’S were found in a mine in the Rand Mining District, on the Mojave Desert,. California. They are covered in candlewax from the candle’s the miner was using to light the tunnel he was working in. They were found with and old paper bag with the name of a mercantile store which operated between 1895 and 1898 in the town or Randsburg. Their was also a gunny sack with the initials A.P.K. and Randsburg marked on it. A.P.K. is through to be Adam P. Kuffel who was a partner in the mercantile store.
These pants have the cloth label vice the leather label. The label (pictured) indicates that they are size W34 x L33, They are copper riveted with the rivets marked L.S. & Co. S.F. They are buckle back (pictured) with suspender buttons. Buttons are silver in color and are all marked LEVI STRAUSS & CO. S.F.CAL. The pants were made with just one back pocket on the right hand side.
The pants are in excellent condition with two small flaws. One hole just above where the left hand back pocket would be, which can be covered by a Quarter and one missing piece of cloth measuring approximatley 1/2 “by !/2” on the band just to the right hand side of the fly.
Seven day return policy for ful refund less shipping and insurance cost. Seller will pay shipping and insurance. NO OVERSEAS SHIPPING. IF YOU ARE BIDDING FROM OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES YOU MUST PROVIDE A U.S. SHIPPING ADDRESS. PAYMENT FOR BIDDERS OUTSIDE U.S. MUST BE BY PAYPAL.
I WILL ABSOLUTLY NOT WITHDRAW THIS FROM E-BAY FOR AND OUTSIDE SALE– YOU MUST BID.
Thank you, and good luck bidding.
Perhaps even more amusing are the questions submitted by interested bidders. I particularly enjoyed the conversation about the candle wax:
Q: Dear Sir, If I purchased these jeans from you, what type of detergent would you suggest using to get the wax off? Jul-29-08
A: I honestly have no idean. I have never tried to wash the wax off any of the mining items as most mining collectors prefer that if stays on.
Q: I know that this may sound odd, but would you consider selling the dirt that was found in the pockets of the jeans? Jul-29-08
A: Sorry, but when I turned the pockets inside out to see if their was a stamp inside the pocket as requested by a previous question, the dirt spilled out and was vacummed up.
Q: hi, i have been reading the questions. are these people real? these jeans without a doubt are the real deal. good luck. wish i had the cash. Jul-29-08
A: Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Q: there are rumours that these are modern lvc that have been made dirty to look authentic. can you quash these rumour Jul-29-08
A: Sourlemons– “If I can’t afford them they must be fake.” The only assurnace I can provide you is my longterm e-bay use with 100% satisfactions rate and the seven day return policy for full refund.
Q: Hello. I would like to post images of this vintage denim up on our menswear website with a link back to this auction. Could you possibly send me some higher res images (say 800x?)? We’d love to feature this. email@example.com Jul-29-08
A: Higher resolution images sent by seperate e-mail.
Q: By any chance have these jeans been authenticated by Lynn Downey, The Levi’s Historian employed by Levis Strauss?? Thanks! Jul-29-08
A: No, I was not even aware of Lynn Downey until these were posted on e-bay. If you are the winning bidder you have seven days after receipt of the jeans to have them authenticated, and if not satisfied return them for a full refund.
Q: if the miner was holding a candle that was dripping on the jeans, wouldn’t the wax droplets be long in shape unlike the round drops pictured that would indicate that the jeans were laid out flat and a candle dripped from over top? Just a question. Jul-29-08
A: I am not a Forensic expert so I cannot speculate on how the candle wax would look. or whether the miner was standing or sitting down to eat his lunch when the candle dripped on him. All I know is the drips look like those I find on powder boxes, candle stick boxes and other old clothing brought out of the mines. Nor can I awnser why these men left their pants in the mine.
Q: Did you find these jeans yourself or did you purchase them from a third party? Have the jeans’ authenticity been verified by an expert, if so, do they come with some sort of certificate confirming and/or guaranteeing their authenticity? Many thanks… Jul-29-08
A: These jeans were found by my neighbor who has been exploring these mines all his life. They have not been authenticated by anyone living over 60 miles away and wearing a tie (an expert). If you purchase them you have seven days to cntact an expert and if you are not satisfied they are as described they may be returned within that seven days for a full refund.
Q: What is the name of the mercantile store? Jul-28-08
A: Sack reads — W. C. WILSON & CO. GENERAL MERCHANDISE AND MINER’S SUPPLIES, RANDSBURG, CAL. Kuffel & Wilson — W. C. Wilson & Co. –Wilson, Mullen & Bracewell Clyde and Adam Kuffel were mining in Goler when the strike was made in Randsburg. William C. Wilson had been doing business in Mojave for twelve years prior to the discovery of gold in Randsburg. It is not definitely clear which one of the Kuffels was involved in this store. It was the Father Adam P. Kuffel who was listed as merchant in the 1896 and 1898 Great Register of Voters. However, in the journal ledger for Rand Mining Co. in July through December of 1896, there are listings for payment to Wilson & Kuffel, W. C. Wilson and D. C. Kuffel & Co. The Kuffel and Wilson Store was being built in May of 1896 and was up and running by June of that year. The first official post office was located in a corner of the store, which was presided over by Mr. Moores. This store is thought to have been located in “Pioneer Town” up closer to the mine. The store was later relocated down to the present day location of Randsburg and was lost in the January 1898 fire; they soon however moved a building up from Garlock where they also had been doing business. Mr. Wilson realized the need for communication and built the first telephone line into Randsburg. How long Mr. Kuffel remained associated with the firm is not definitely known. However, by July of 1898 according to a letterhead in the collection of the author, it appears the firms name had been changed to Wilson, Mullen & Bracewell.
Q: Hi , Did you wash already ? Thanks Jul-28-08
A: No, I have not washed the jeans. I will leave that decision up to the winning bidder.
Q: hi Nice jeans, cracking find. Bit out of my price range now but would be interested to know if there’s a number or letter stamped on the back of the top button (of the button fly). It’s a levis factory code. Thanks Jul-27-08
A: No there is no number on the back of the top botton of the fly. Bart
Q: Can you give me the actual measurements of these pants. I know what the tag says, bt what is the actual inseam (from the crotch to the bottom) and the waist size? Jul-27-08
A: Actuall measuremts as I make them out are waist 34″ and inseam 31″. Bart
Q: Is there any mark on the back (inside) of the rivets? thanks Jul-27-08
A: No, I cannot make out any mark on the back of the rivets.
Q: Hi , Does the pants have any stamp inside pocket ? Thanks Jul-24-08
A: There are no stamps inside the pockets, only dirt.
Q: hi! would you consider a $2500 ‘buy it now’ option for these jeans? please let me know- thanks! Jul-24-08
A: I will not consider any iption that would end this bidding process early.
Q: howdy seller, do you have a bin price? thank you. Jul-24-08
A: I do not understand what you mean by bin price.
Q: Hi, would you consider a BUY IT NOW? Jul-24-08
A: I will NOT consider any BUY IT NOW offers.