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Saturday, September 3, 2011

While Mr. Modtomic Is By No Means A Fashionista, I Do Have My Moments. REAL Vintage LEVI'S Type II Jacket Anyone? Status: Thrift Mega Score.

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This is quite likely the best thrift score I've ever made. It's also the ONLY real vintage Levi's score I've ever made, and buddy...I've spent some serious time scrounging through the denim. Never found a single pair of "big E" 501s. Not even a pair of selveged 501s. But this jacket made up for all that wasted time.

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Yeah, that "big E" in the LEVI'S tag is what it's all about! I learned about big E Levi's many years

ago and started scouring the thrift stores for them to no avail. Oh, I've found a pair or two of some

'70s pieces here and there and I have a number of "cowboy" shirts that have the big E on the tag

but I've always wanted a pair of 501s with a big E tag. That's been the score that has eluded me so.

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You see, Levi's stopped making regular production items with a capitol letter "E" on the Levi's tag

back in the '70s, at least on the denim products. I think the shirts may have gone later though I'm

not certain. So if you find a pair of jeans or a jacket with a red tab that has a "big E" you can be

pretty certain it's at least 30 years old. I say "pretty certain" because Levi's regularly manufactures

reissues of some of it's vintage lines and are designated LVC. These pieces are very limited runs

and cost a fortune. People buy them new just to re-sell on eBay. They're not something you'll find

down at Dillard's or Macy's.

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So back when I found this jacket I dug deep into the research to figure out what I had. I tried to find

some of that info today and came up empty handed but I know this to be a 1950's LEVI'S Type II (or

2nd edition) Denim Jacket. The Type I is the holy grail of jackets as it is ridiculously hard to find and

worth a small fortune. Even in the "Types" there are variations that make some worth more than

others. I think mine is a late type II in that it has a different stitch along the inside of the waist. I had

all this variation info saved on another PC that went kaput years ago. Even the number stamped on

the back of the buttons means something to collectors. I think it tells in which plant the piece was

manufactured.

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Mine is so unworn that I was a little afraid that it was an LVC reproduction. I took a bunch of pictures

of it when I got it and e-mailed them to the historian at Levi's for some measure of verification. She

said that I am indeed the proud owner of a true vintage Levi's type II denim jacket. One of these

just sold on eBay for $400 with no size tag and a couple of holes in the body
. Mine looks like it's

never been worn! Oh, btw...I paid less than $8 for it. Score.

6 comments:

  1. Wow very cool. I have a Levi's jacket from when I was a teenager (70's) and know enough not to get rid of it (or can't...many memories in that jacket) but cannot fit into it anymore. I should get it out and see what kind it is (no expert here). $400 would certainly help in loosening my fingers from it. And I know it is in good shape though it had been worn, a lot. Tried to get my kids interested in it but no go. Probably a good thing. :)

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  2. This is one collectible I really don't understand. I love denim for sure but I can't imagine the attraction of 30 year old Levi's. Do people wear them or display them or just store them in there closets? Hope you make tons off of it!

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  3. Christine - Sounds like you might have a Type III (or Truckers) Jacket. Like I mentioned above, look for the capitol letter "E" on the red tab tag on the pocket. This will help you date the jacket. I have a couple of these Type III jackets too. I've seen them go for as little as $15 - $20 on eBay up to $100 or more. There are some attributes on these as well that will make one more valuable than another such as the corner stitching of the pocket under the flap. I know...it's crazy.

    Vintage H. - Vintage Levi's ain't for everyone. I will wear my jackets from time to time. I have a REALLY nice crisp un-stonewashed (i.e. the denim is "hard") Lee jacket that I wear with a hoodie until it gets too chilly for that. I don't have any REALLY vintage Levi's jeans but I do wear almost exclusively "Made In The USA" Levi's which means that they are at least pre 2005, but since the plant closures were ramping up to 2004 it is more likely they are much older. It's like furniture to some extent. There are a lot of people who wouldn't understand my want of vintage chairs when I could buy flawless new chairs. ::shrugg:: I like old stuff!

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  4. Well, I can definitely see spending $8 on something like this - it's the $400+ prices people are willing to pay that have me perplexed! I like old furniture and things because the quality is better, the price is better(even if you buy retail), and the design is better. With the really old Levi's the price sure isn't better, I can't speak for the quality (I'm guessing it must be better) and style wise there isn't a ton of difference other than the fits might be dated. I wouldn't be able to tell if someone were wearing vintage vs. new Levi's. So at least 2 out of 3 of my reasons for buying vintage just don't exist with the Levi's (unless you score them for a song of course!)

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    Replies
    1. It's a metaphorical love affair. While there is no purpose for or possibility of 'living in the past', there's a romantic attachment to be experienced with something like an old Levi's jacket.

      Knowing that I have a jacket that was made the year "Sgt. Pepper's" was released, or that MAY have been left behind on a hook in the boot room as some spoiled rich-kid hippie drifted out of his parents' house en route to Woodstock is an absolutely mystical thing. I'm a thread, pun intended, in the Time/Space weave.

      I detest the crass, money-worshipping taint that has affected the nature of 'vintage' culture and its coveted, collectible, singular treasures. That smacks of being 'in love' for the wrong reasons. People. I didn't acquire a piece which I can resell for a profit -- I adopted an orphan. On a less dramatic level, I at least have a museum-quality item of wearable art.

      I, too, am bewildered by the valuation of things such as the vintage Lee denim jacket that sold for $40,000: unconscionable in various respects. $550 for a pair of LVC 'reproduction' jeans? Can you say "Fu*k off!"? That L.S. & Co. -- yet another hallmark American institution -- prostituted itself by means of offshore production nauseates me.

      All of that aside, look at Mistermodtomic's photos here. "Nothing can surpass the mystery of stillness". Allow the appeal of 'vintage' to stoke the fire of your imagination. Priceless. For everything else, there's tasteless consumerism.

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  5. What a cool score! Thanks for all the info, too, on Levi's. I'm going to have to go through my closets and storage to see if I still have some of my original (now vintage) LEVI'S!

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