Tuesday, August 26, 2008

201 Spotlight

The Levi's 201 has long been the forgotten step child living in the shadow of the much more famous 501. With the recent ebay transaction of a 201 going for over $36,000 several people have emailed me for comments and background information. I can think of no better person to turn to than renown Levi's historian, Lynn Downey.

The jeans "date to the period 1890-1901. They are Lot 201 which, as most people know, was the 'value' version of the 501 jeans. 201 jeans were made with 9 oz. Amoskeag denim, just as the 501 was," says Downey.

So what's the difference between the two?

According to Downey "the 201 didn't get the 'XX' denim that gave the 501 its original name. That is, the XX denim was the top-of-the-line fabric from Amoskeag, and a less expensive denim was used for the 201. However, they are still sturdy, that's for sure!"

This is an interesting point. It is worthwhile to compare early 201 denims to 501XX denims. I wonder if the "XX" designation signified a lower level of "defects." Without having studied the two fabrics side by side I will venture the guess that those lots of denims classified as having high "irregularities" like mispicks and popcorn fills did not make the cut into XX and instead were used for 201 and other workwear.

Downey continues, "I have 3 pairs of 201 jeans from the 1890s in the Archives, plus 1 from 1915 and another from the early 1920s."

Below are pictures of a pair from the Levi's Archives. They have two back pockets, no beltloops, buckleback, and waistband suspender buttons.

Photograph courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co., taken by Lynn Downey

Photograph courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co., taken by Lynn Downey

Photograph courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co., taken by Lynn Downey

Below are pictures of the Levi's 201's that sold for over $36,000 on ebay. This pair shows less wear pattern contrast than the Levi's Archive pair but it is an exciting find nonetheless.

According to the auction 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. Tthe 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.

Levi Strauss & Co Website

Ended Ebay Auction for Vintage Levi's 201s (Link May Expire)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one pair of 1890 201's for sale. If you know anyone interested I can be reached at jimifalcon@ gmail.com

12/11/2013 02:54:00 PM  

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