By History Channel On eBay
—Vintage denims—one of the oldest and rarest in existence—expected to fetch more than $25,000—
SAN JOSE, Calif., May 15, 2001 – Vintage denim is currently all the rage – on the streets, on the runways, on eBay, the world’s online marketplace and The History Channel®. Whether as a fashion statement, a hobby or a search for nostalgia, finding the perfect pair of old dungarees has become the passion of many, ranging from trendy teens to baby boomers to international collectors. On May 18th, denim devotees will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a piece of history when one of the oldest and rarest pairs of Levi’s® jeans in existence, is offered publicly through a special auction from The History Channel®, Butterfields Auctioneers and eBay. Visitors can learn all about and bid on the jeans during the 7-day auction, starting on May 18 and ending on May 25 at www.ebay.com/history or www.historychannel.com .
The 19th-century pair of vintage denim has been authenticated by the Levi Strauss & Co. historian, and according to specialists at Butterfields Auctioneers, has an estimated value between $25,000 and $35,000. Discovered in a Nevada mining town in 1998, the dungarees will be featured on HISTORY’S LOST & FOUND AUCTION BLOCK, which will air during the last two minutes of The History Channel daily series “History’s Lost & Found.”
“History’s Lost & Found,” airing Monday through Friday from 6:30 – 7:00 pm ET/PT, takes viewers on a wild scavenger hunt through history tracking down long lost objects and artifacts that have significantly changed our world. Bidding opens on May 18, and runs until 6 PM PST on May 24. The final bid will be announced on May 25, when the next week’s intriguing auction item is revealed. All proceeds from the sale will go to the individual seller of the jeans.
Denim has enjoyed an interesting place in American history, dating back to the 18th century, when manufacturers began combining different fabrics to create a sturdy and comfortable material for work clothes. Levi Strauss & Co. has had a huge impact on the industry, starting in 1873 with the company’s introduction of a special metal riveting process. By applying copper rivets to the corners and pockets of denim pants – Levi Strauss strengthened the design and thus created the first pair of jeans. Denim has come a long way since then, establishing itself as a staple in the fashion industry and American culture.
The vintage pair of 1880 Levi’s waist coveralls were crafted from 9-ounce denim produced by the Amoskeag Mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, according to the Levi Strauss & Co. historian, who adds that Levi’s jeans are the only garment created in the 19th century which are still worn today.
“There is a rich history behind the denim industry in America,” said Catherine Williamson, director and appraiser for Butterfields. “The changes in denim and jeans tell a story about our country, the same way that one person’s favorite pair of old dungarees has many stories and memories attached to them. It’s so exciting to have the opportunity to put such a valuable, yet familiar piece of American history before the public.”
The trend to want to own and collect vintage denim can be witnessed on eBay—where it is among the hottest selling items within the fashion and collectible category. Visitors to eBay can find hundreds of vintage denim items listed every day. Recent sales of vintage jeans include: · A pair of vintage JCPenny’s jeans sold for over $1,100 with 21 bids · A pair of vintage Levi’s® 501® jeans sold for more than $750 with 3 bids · Two pairs of Lee Riders from the 1950’s or 60’s sold for $450 with 13 bids.
“People used to have to travel the world, hunt through racks at the ‘Army Surplus’ store or seek out vintage boutiques to find highly sought after vintage jeans,” said Jim Griffith of eBay. “Today, buyers and sellers of this wearable and collectible fashion, can easily meet one another on eBay, enabling them to expand their collections through exclusive items that wouldn’t be available anywhere else, as well as browse one of the widest selection of vintage denim in the world.”
eBay (Nasdaq “EBAY”; www.ebay.com ) is the world’s largest online trading community. Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful marketplace for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and small businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items listed on the site across thousands of categories. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with local sites in 60 markets in the United States and country-specific sites in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Japan, Korea and Australia. With the acquisition of Half.com in July 2000, eBay’s community now benefits from a marketplace combining traditional auction-style trading and Half.com’s set-price trading.
Butterfields, auctioneers since 1865, is an eBay company and one of the world’s leading fine art auction houses. Butterfields galleries are located in San Francisco and Los Angeles with regional offices across the globe. Butterfields has attained world record prices in many collecting categories and offers a host of appraisal and auction services. Online real-time bidding, powered by eBay’s Live Auction technology, has become a standard in the company’s auctions. Online illustrated catalogs, sales schedules, and information are available at www.butterfields.com .
About The History Channel
Now reaching more than 72 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel® reveals the power and passion of history as an inviting place where people experience history personally and connect their own lives to the great lives and events of the past. The History Channel is the only place “Where the Past Comes Alive.” The History Channel received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s SAVE OUR HISTORY TM campaign dedicated to historic preservation. The History Channel web site is located at www.HistoryChannel.com .