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Auction gem: golden find in mine

Every year, May 1 marks Labor Day. A day where the struggle and dignity of the working class is celebrated. Although it is not a national holiday in the Netherlands, it is still an appropriate auction gem. A miner's very expensive jeans went under the hammer.

This proves once again that gold is not the only valuable thing you can find in a mine; the vintage Levi's was discovered in an abandoned mine shaft in America. The jeans date from 1880 and were found by a self-proclaimed “denim archaeologist”. 

Jeans were widely worn at this time by miners, among others. The trousers were then seen as work clothes, because the strong fabric can withstand a blow. 

Since Levi's of this age rarely appear at auction, they are highly sought after by collectors. Although still in excellent condition, the pants do include a few drops of candle wax. This is due to the candles that the miners used to illuminate the narrow tunnels. The observant viewer will also see that the pants have one instead of two back pockets and there are buttons for suspenders where there are normally belt loops. 

 

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Racist 

However, the inside pocket contains another sign that is unfortunately telling about that time. A label on the inside contains the text: "The only kind made by white labor." Levi's introduced this racist slogan after the Chinese Exlusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese workers from entering the US. The slogan and policy were both dropped in 1890. According to a brand spokesperson, Levi's is committed to advocating for equality and combating racism in all its forms.

At an auction last year, the trousers ultimately went under the hammer for an amount of €78.000.