These jeans just sold for $76,000

A pair of vintage Levi’s jeans from the 1880s sold for $76,000 at an auction in New Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Kyle Haupert, a 23-year-old vintage clothing dealer from San Diego, bought the pants at an auction on October 1.

“I’m still kind of bewildered, just surprised in myself for even purchasing them,” Haupert told the Journal…

The antique jeans were found in an old mine years ago, according to Long John, a denim magazine that first broke the news about the winning bid. They were used by a miner and feature suspender buttons on the waistbands and a single back pocket. The pants are marked by candle wax.

According to their auction listing, the jeans are one of the oldest known Levis from the gold rush era and “the holy grail of vintage denim collecting.” The pants are in “good/wearable” condition, per the listing.

“You could wear them to a Starbucks,” Stevenson told the Journal.

Iranians freak out over jeans with name of God on the butt

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

A Chinese clothing manufacturer probably thought it was on to a winner by exporting jeans bearing the Islamic expression “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful” to Iran. But an otherwise sound marketing ploy was undone by one embarrassing flaw: the phrase (Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim in Arabic), which graces each of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters, was prominently displayed on the pockets of the jeans’ backsides, something likely to be seen as disrespectful by devout Muslims.

The perceived slight, first reported in the Iranian media, prompted a firm response from the police who announced they had seized the garments and arrested three businessmen said to have imported them.

Asriran website said the jeans, tailored for women, had sold for around $10-$12 in Tehran’s southern and eastern districts and bore labels reading Made in the PRC (People’s Republic of China).

The country of origin is embarrassing for Iranian authorities, given the close political and economic relationship between Iran and China. Beijing is Tehran’s biggest trading partner and has used its veto on the UN security council to protect Iran from further sanctions over its nuclear programme…

However, Asriran accused China of “attacking Iranian Muslim sacred symbols in the most offensive manner: In Islam, Allah is a respected word that you need to have ablutions before saying. Now it is embroidered on the sitting place of these jeans. Worse, they are sold in Tehran, which many would like to call the heart of the Islamic world.”

Since the manufacturer now has excess stock of these jeans, where might they show up next?

Wanna real deal on designer jeans?

In the midday heat of downtown Los Angeles, Chris Johnson squints at the jeans-clad plastic buttocks of mannequins lined up in Fashion District storefronts.

He’s looking for something special: a horseshoe design stitched in the jeans’ back pockets. He passes stores selling counterfeit Coach bags and Prada sunglasses, then heads down an alley to a store where two men are checking their cellphones and looking bored. A specialist in dungarees, Johnson has a client list that includes True Religion Brand Jeans, Joe’s Jeans and Antik Denim. He likes to joke that none of those companies makes jeans in his size.

It’s an uphill battle for Johnson and the hundreds of investigators like him as the flow of counterfeit goods into the United States increases. Customs officials seized $197 million worth of fakes in 2007, up 27% from the previous year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Last year, customs officials seized $18 million worth of counterfeit apparel, which includes denim, from China alone — up 29% from the previous year.

That’s why denim companies spend millions annually to employ people like Johnson.

Read the article. Johnson has an interesting history. The teling point – predictably – is that the gangs specializing in counterfeiting retail products turned to them when they realized they wouldn’t get more than a slap on the wrist whenever they were caught.

Not certain which part of bourgeois morality is at play here; but, lousy governing is part.