The world's oldest pair of 501 jeans, from c1879 were called "XX" when they debuted in 1873. IN 1890, this style was given the iconic lot number 501.
This pair of jeans from the 1880s was found in Nevada and auctioned on Ebay in 2001. The LS&CO. Archives won the auction for $46,532, and named the jeans "Nevada."
The Archives staff named this c1901 pair of jeans "Big Blue" for its stunning natural indigo color. The white marks are the remnants of candle wax left behind by the miner who originally owned them.
A college student named Heath found this late 1920s pair in a garbage dump near Gold Hill, Nevada and won a 1993 contest for the oldest jeans owned by an LS&CO. consumer.
An Arizona cowboy bought these jeans around 1933. His widow sold them to a vintage clothing dealer in the late 1980s, who then sold them to the LS&CO. Archives in 1992.
The Lot 201 jean was the "value" version of the 501 since it was made with a linen patch instead of leather. This pair dates to around 1910.
During WWII, LS&CO. had to paint the back pocket stitching on every pair of pants. The government said the "Arcuate" was decorative, and thus a waste of thread which otherwise could be used for the war effort.
The first "modern" 501 jean, stripped of its workwear origins and details, became famous when Hollywood put it on the motorcycle-riding bad boys of the 1950s.