• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Vintage Levi's on Ebay

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,399
Reaction score
23,248

Baron

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
7,923
Reaction score
2,750
It's hard to tell exactly what those are. In the parlance of vintage jean traders, the most significant characteristic is the one that's identified in the title, and usually older (and more valuable) jeans have that characteristic plus others. For instance, the first level are "redlines," which just have the redline selvage in the seams. The next level would be "Big E's," which have the selvage plus the E in the small red tag on the back is capitalized. The next level is "Double X's," which have the selvage, big E, and a XX after the 501 on the leather tag. And so on.

That said, any Levi's with the redline selvage are desireable and higher quality than new Levi's, depending on condition. If those are your size, they're worth at least $40 or $50 IMHO.

edit after seeing LA Guy's post: All previous comments are assuming that those are indeed red tag 501's (it looks to me like they are). Also note that the traditional selvage is white, with a subtle red line running through it. I'm wearing a pair of reproduction Big E's right now, in fact.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,399
Reaction score
23,248

Baron

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
7,923
Reaction score
2,750
You probably can't tell the provenance exactly without the leather tag, but you can get close. For one, you can see if the E on the red tag is capitalized. You can look for single (as opposed to double on new jeans) stitching on the hem of the rear pockets. You can also see if there are hidden copper rivets in the crotch and rear pockets (these are pre WWII I think). Ususally repros are identified with text on the canvas of the front left pocket. But even without the leather patch, you can tell of they are just plain old 1970's era 501's, with the selvedge.

And yes, the repros do use the denim from the cone mills. I think that there is a page within the levis.com site devoted to the current reproductions. They are now reproducing the 646 bellbottoms from the late 1960's, aside from the various 501's. I wish they would do a nice reproduction of the basic 517 bootcuts. I'm also fond of 517 corduroy jeans, which are no longer made but available easily enough on ebay.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,399
Reaction score
23,248

Brian SD

Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
Messages
9,760
Reaction score
124
Can't see the selvedge well enough in those pictures, but looks like later 70s to me...

1) No hidden rivets
2) Denim texture resembles the late 70s/early 80s type
3) Orange back pocket stitching is a characteristic of late 70s and beyond.

Looks like pretty nice selvedge though. Can't tell if it's redline or not from the photos
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,399
Reaction score
23,248

Baron

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
7,923
Reaction score
2,750
My friend the denim expert (he traded vintage denim for years) just came by my office, and he said that they redline selvedge jeans were made until the very early 1980's.

As an aside, I can say from personal experience that Levi's have gone downhill since 1997. I bought a pair of new shrink to fit jeans that year, and they faded very nicely with limited washing and only line drying. I bought a similar pair last year and they faded so much after just a single wash, I was shocked. I couldn't get any 'character' to the fade at all.
 

Brian SD

Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
Messages
9,760
Reaction score
124
I dont know how you can go about making jeans without true selvedge and have them still look like that. Well ...technically all jeans have selvedge seams but are not necessarily as nice looking as what we refer to these days as selvedge denim.

I can personally attest to your bad experience with more recent Levis jeans, Baron. I cannot stand the newer Levis jeans, and Levis premium aren't worth half the retail price. Of course, that excludes the repros, which are really sweet. I like the 1944s and 1947s a lot, even if they are a bit baggier than I prefer my jeans.
 

Brian SD

Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
Messages
9,760
Reaction score
124
It's just in reference to the outseam on the inside of the leg. I personally am not certain of the functional purpose, but I think true selvedge is done to keep the shape of the denim, as the twill weave tends to warp over time. It takes a lot more denim fabric to create a nice full selvedge seam, and different brands and factories have different ways of doing selvedge, some being more decorative than others (i.e. Evisu is highly decorative vs. Helmut Lang is very simple). Generally it's just a nice touch that is put on higher end jeans, from my understanding, although many people take it way too seriously. People who turn up/cuff the bottom of their jeans generally do it to show off the selvedge (unless they dont know what it is, and they're just going for the 50s style).
That is an example of repro vintage Levis with redline selvedge seam.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,399
Reaction score
23,248

T4phage

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2003
Messages
6,117
Reaction score
684
Originally posted by LA Guy:
Do the repros really still use Denim from the Cone mills?
I agree with Baron, all the repos use Cone mills denim. On the 1933 reproduction, there is even a linen NRA (National Recovery Act) tag just below the leather tab identifying it as Cone Mills denim.

Originally posted by Baron:
.... You can also see if there are hidden copper rivets in the crotch and rear pockets (these are pre WWII I think). Ususally repros are identified with text on the canvas of the front left pocket..
LA Guy is right regarding the limited timescale that the copper rivet was covered, between 1940's to 1960's. As for the repos being identified with the text you mention, I can't find it, and I own quite a few of the repos from various years. What do you mean exactly?
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
446,993
Messages
9,669,242
Members
202,012
Latest member
soikeotaybannha
Top