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Thrifter's thread: Levi's 501 (1960's-1990's)

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Topic: Thrifter's thread: Levi's 501 (1960's-1990's)
Posted By: Dr_Heech
Subject: Thrifter's thread: Levi's 501 (1960's-1990's)
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:01am

As the title suggests, a thread to inform any potential thrifters still out there looking for old Levi's 501's; Information that might be helpful for dating purposes when there is no patch/tab etc, only numbers/letters and possibly a wash tag.
This thread is not intended to detract from our other fine Levi's resources:" rel="nofollow -   (Antique-vintage)" rel="nofollow -  (Old)
The basic pictorial information gathered here comes from several different Japanese denim magazines, and the wonderful "The 501XX - A collection of vintage jeans" (recommended for any real Levi's enthusiast). Although most of the examples here are NOS, and any pairs still left worth thrifting will be used/trashed, it is nice to see all the various changes to the details on the card pocket-flasher and Guarantee tickets. This info can help with dating as much as patches and button numbers/letters. 
This info also comes from my experiences of thrifting, many moons ago, and from trawling through 100's of images over the years from various online vintage sites such as" rel="nofollow -
..which leads me to my next point -
This information will of course be updated (when time allows) and photos added, as to any new 'finds' allow us to speculate further. The 1960's and 1970's in particular have many transitional phases (and grey areas it seems) due to several factories making the 501 jean at the same time(?)
This guide is not definitive in any way and feedback is always welcome - it's a big learning curve after all.
Lastly, I've started around 1960 as I doubt many out there will be lucky enough to find an older pair with hidden rivets from the 40's or 50's (but I've left a window open if there is enough interest). The cut off point has to be the 1990's, as this starts to get into Lvc and other repro-brand territory, and then there's the 'fakes' that followed. This thread is about "Made in the USA" STF 501's from the last century!
PLEASE take the time to check your Levi's 501's have the following combination of factors; Look at the photos (will be updating) and read the description - this will help you determine whether they are worth investigating further Wink
A crude example: If your 501's have a V stitch and a wash tag, then they don't comply to these models listed (the V stitch disappeared around 1970 and the first wash tag didn't arrive until 1973 ..... and so on).
Links to pairs are acceptable, but valuations by pm only, as I don't want this thread to turn to soup Smile

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:02am
[Reserved for 1940's/50's 501 ?]

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:02am
In 1962 a pair of Levi's 501's would have typically looked like this when new (taken from "The 501xx") -
They would typically be stitched in orange and yellow thread, the two-horse patch would still have the words EVERY GARMENT GUARANTEED.  They would have the hidden back pocket rivets and the front rivets were copper-coated steel I believe (more anodized/shinier than earlier copper rivets (which seem to dull rather than rust). They would almost certainly have an offset back/centre belt-loop. The pair above seem to have something stamped on the rear of the waistband button?
More shots of the same pair (Lightning Vol 91) -
A closer look reveals the letter 'S' -
There is no definitive date when numbers or letters started to appear on the button backs, although my personal feeling is late 1940's. The Levi's jackets being produced at the time (the older 507xx up to 1962 and the 'new' 557xx introduced in 1961) had the # 17 stamped on the reverse of the buttons, so it is possible.
Lastly a pair made in the early sixties would have a 'V' stitch on the waistband.  A term coined by collectors to describe the V-shaped return of one side of the single-stitched fold of the waistband.  Shown here with the yellow thread -
And the button-hole side finished off into an L-shape normally -

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:03am
# 15
At this point your Levi's 501's still have the hidden back pocket rivets, off-set belt loop and numbers or letters stamped on the waistband button.  Sometime in 1963 Levi's took the words EVERY GARMENT GUARANTEED off their two horse patch. One of the other notable details that is a good indicator for dating 501's, is the change in material to the front pocket rivets; They change from copper-coated steel to Aluminium (please note on the pair above, copper-coated steel is still used). 
On a new pair the rivets will look shiny, like on this pair which unusually has a centred back belt loop -
'S' stamp -
but over time the outside will darken, for example -
The inside part of the rivet remains a shiny silver colour.  Also with this model (63-65/66) the lower waistband chain-stitch used lemon yellow thread only -
Another feature which normally distinguishes this model is the presence of the selvedge in the coin pocket -
The following letters have been noted for this era 501 model:
A, E & L (on waistband button OR on fly buttons) & J, K, R, S & W on waistband buttons only.
Numbers(so far): #15 & 20 
If you are lucky enough to find a pair with a two-horse patch still attached, here are two of the four variations -
And with and without hidden rivets/offset belt-loop -

Also, so far at least, this is the first model I've seen with the 'R' only tab -

The last two examples clearly show the basic two models of 501 around this time. And as I said before, there are at least four or five variations in patch (the two above and the one on the next pair being three of them).
The jeans still had the yellow/orange thread, but around this time the lemon-yellow waistband stitch, a distinctive feature of '63-'65 501's, was gradually replaced by copper-orange.  They still had the V stitch and the numbers/letters on the button-backs. 
The two most noticeable changes were the removal of the hidden back pocket rivets, and the 'off-set' belt-loop returned to its' central position once again. The words: 100% Cotton and WPL 423 were added around 1965/66 to the patch (will update patch variations noted in previous model).
 Essentially, after the rivets disappeared it becomes the start of a grey area which lasts until around 1970, but I've tried to make some sense of it - basically as time goes on I may be able to whittle the numbers /letters thing down to certain model variations. Or even factories?
Here is the last example from "The 501xx..." book - produced early '66 -
On this pair the letter 'E' is stamped on the fly buttons only (blank waist button) - here are my hidden rivet pair with the same configuration but with E also stamped on the hidden rivet, so they could have been made months apart, at possibly the same factory??

(I've also often wondered if this is the start of the 501 'E' (c.1967-70)?

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:04am


Basically without the two horse patch, the 501's made between c.1966-70 look very similar.
 - So no hidden rivets, still has the V stitch ( pocket selvedge remains for perhaps a year?)  and letters/numbers on back of waistband button -
'K' stamp -
There are three main models here:
501xx 501} 501 501 and 501 0117 (c.1966-1968),
501 'E' : c.1968-1970,
501 A,S,F model: c.1969-1971
501xx 501, 501 501 and 501 501 0117 (same model or just different patch codes from different factories??)
Looks like a B, E or an F stamped on the button-back?
Although some of the following models overlap 1970 (notably the 'A', 'S' & 'F' model(s), the most distinguishing feature of pre-1970 501's is the V stitch. After 1970 the top edge of the waistband was, like the bottom part, chain-stitched - with two rows of single-stitch at the butt-ends (not a technical term) like this:
The A,S & F model(s) were the first attempt to give a quality grading to customers (A = A1/perfect, S = 'Satisfactory' and F which stands for 'Failure') -
Interestingly, this last photo shows two thick black bands on the F model patch.  This is the word 'IRREGULAR' (stamped twice ..incoherently) which around 1970 was then simply stamped onto the pocket bag (in most cases) or on the patch.
Models with numbers stamped onto button-backs noted so far, both with AND without the V stitch or chain-stitch waistband:
'A' model with #6 (underlined) - the first appearance of this, later termed by the collector as the "Route 66" 501
A model with #4
S model with #2
S model with #8
S model with #16
Sometimes referred to as the 501 'E':  This model along with 501 A/S/F was the last to use the old type, thicker Jacron two-horse patch (replaced around 1970 with a new two-piece type with tear-off section). A good sign of a pre-1971 501 is the 'shadow' of the patch is nearly (but not) always butted against the belt-loop.
Here is a pair with the # 16 stamped on the top button, which as mentioned, has been noted on the S model also -
This model was still stitched using a mixture of lemon-yellow and copper-orange thread, and of course still had the V stitch. 
The most important improvement that appeared on the 501 'E' was the first Washing Instructions, printed on the pocket bag like this -
501 'E' will only have 501 printed on the patch:
 The remains of printed pocket-bag wash instructions is always a good indicator of the 501 'E' model, as long there is still a V stitch and any number OTHER than #6 (underlined) on the button-back. The red tab, which had always been made from Rayon, also had a slight font change in the word "LEVI'S" around 1968/69.  Will update with an example, hopefully.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:04am
1970 - 1973
In around 1970, the material of the red tab changed from Rayon to Nylon, but still retained the word "LEVI'S" in capital letters.  
Sometimes called the 501'E' "66" model, this is a bit of a departure from the previous 501's (although some factories were obviously still producing the A,S,F model(s) until early 1971) - this became the definitive design for the next decade!
The most important design feature (as previously mentioned) was the waistband, which was now chain-stitched top and bottom (so no more V stitch) - also the Underlined #6 (so 6 ) on the waistband button-back is a good indicator of 501's made between 1970-c.1980.
This model still had the new added washing instructions printed on the right pocket bag, but now there was a new design Two-horse patch, made of thinner cardstock than before, with a small tear-off section (for why?), which had the added words "CARE INSTRUCTIONS INSIDE GARMENT" printed directly above 501. When this new patch was introduced, it meant moving the patch along to the centre more to allow for the extra tear-off portion to sit, like this:
Around the early 70's the numbers '1', '2' and '3' started to appear (pre-fixing the lot #501) to denote longer leg lengths (1: used for waist sizes under 38, 2: used for sizes 40-48, and 3: used as a prefix for waist sizes 50 and above. I have also seen this era 501 display jean (W76 46) with the '4' prefix.
Earlier 1970's 501's still had some variations in thread colour, but now there is noticeably more copper-orange and less lemon-yellow. This filtered down over several years, until by the end of the decade, 501's were only stitched in copper-orange thread.
Usual places that still have yellow thread: Around coin-pocket or inside front pockets. Bottom hems or around the fly (usually the over-lock stitching). Yellow belt-loop bar-tacking is commonplace, but there were no more yellow-stitch arcuates Disapprove.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:05am
1973- 1978
No more 'Big E' tab.
This is sometimes referred to as the 501 'e' "66" model (don't get me started on this whole 'Route 66' thing). The significance of this model, especially when the new look red tab (now in the lower case spelling of "Levi's") is missing, is the evidence of the new wash tag. Instead of the garment care instructions being printed on the pocket-bag, this new separate white cotton wash tag was sewn into the outside seam, visible by the left pocket-bag. Judging by these pics, the buttons are different from the previous model too -
This model is more widely now know as the 'single-stitch' model to thrifters and collectors. Basically any 501 jean with a 6 on the back of the waistband button, a wash-tag with SF 207 (see pic) and no big E red tab, are either single-stitched or double-stitched - just look inside the back pockets: Two single rows of stitch = single stitch, Two rows of double-lock stitch = double stitched.
Simple way of determining whether they are pre or post 1978. 

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:06am
Now referred to by collectors/thrifters as the 'double-stitched' model 501 (see previous model discussion)
Here are some details of my pair -
The rivet on the blind side is different from the '73-78 model -
The bar-tacking on the belt-loops is shorter from 1978 onward (will update an example soon)

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 10:06am

1981 - c.1993. 
This model was the last to use the Redline selvedge and the black bar-tacked back pocket stitching, although I have seen models with selvedge but with no black bar-tack, and vice-versa. But by 1984 the 501 lost the redline selvedge altogether.
 Around 1982 the font of Levi's on the red tab changed, as well as the info and shrinkage % on the (SF 207) wash tag (see photos). There was also a new flasher dated 1981)
 The number on the reverse of the fly button is usually 524, although I've seen one or two transitional models (c.1981) with the aforementioned # 6 stamp on the button.
 Around 1982/83 over-lock stitching gradually replaced the redline selvedge.
The earlier non-selvedge 501's used copper/orange stitching, whereas the models made after 1984 used the white over-lock stitch only. The button stamp here is 525..
By 1984 there was a new flasher and the wash tag was given a new makeover (back view only) -
And by 1987 another flasher, although same wash tag (front view) and the new Two-horse patch showing he first 'return' of XX after the # 501 in red (along with the 'care instructions inside garment')
Another flasher, dated to 1991 (not shown here) and a change to the rivets on the blind side -
Last flasher dated 1993, and this model ran until the closing of the Valencia street factory in San Francisco in 2002. Note the 501 xx is now printed in black. 
1992 saw the introduction of the last type of wash tag, with the silver thread (fly button back stamped - 552, 553 and 555).

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2015 at 7:31pm

" You must spread more rep before giving any more to the good doctor. " 

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 2:45am
Thankyou Mr Dale, glad you are enjoying it so far. Just a start for now, will be adding and updating as time goes on - and l will be featuring that pair l bought from you when l have the time :)

Posted By: Majormajor
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 3:54am
Excellent reading.
I bought my first pair of 501s in 1965, when Levis were first becoming officially available to buy in the UK (apart from specialist shops in London who, I guess, were getting them direct from the US).
We had to go to Sheffield to buy ours, as it was the only Yorkshire city to have them.
All the jeans we bought (I guess there were about 30 of us from my town who bought them in '65) were without the hidden rivet, so perhaps they were an export specification?


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 5:09am
I would say that yours were the first without the hidden rivets, Major.

Dont forget (exports aside) that there were at least a handfull of factories making the 501in the 1960's. There are many transitional phases, where some new manufacturing innovations/design features take time to be adopted by every factory.
Between 1965- 1966 the were two versions of the 501 (one with hidden rivets, the other without) and four or five variations in patch.


Posted By: haler
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 12:28pm
Dr_Heech, thank you so much for your time and effort here.  This is fantastic knowledge and I appreciate you sharing.

roots in the desert.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 12:51pm
No problem Haler, you are very welcome (gotta keep thrifting if the opportunity arises!) - l hope it will be of some benefit.
Should have the other sections up and going when time permits. Although being old school, for me it gets less interesting when researching past 1980.

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 2:57pm
0117 : un-sanforized
0217: sanforized

I've seen other 4 digit codes - I thin 1118 might be acid wash ?

You see the 0217 a lot on elephant Bells and the orange tab range

Originally posted by Dr_Heech Dr_Heech wrote:

... will  be featuring that pair l bought from you when l have the time :)

I'd almost forgotten them!  

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2015 at 9:58pm
..And 0217 on 70505 jackets and 505 jeans. Thanks Bob, just the 0117 we're interested in here!
All the elephant bells/orange tab/acid-wash discussions belong to some other thread

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2015 at 8:20pm" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2015 at 8:29pm
Found these 501s at a local thrift  today -- based upon this thread, I am thinking 1967ish possibly?

Forgive the wonky-ness of some of the pictures above, but i set up a photobucket and jumped through all the hoops so (hopefully) in 8 months my links won't be broken :) 

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2015 at 9:51pm
Great find Bob!
Looks like a pair of 501 'E' "66" or possibly 501 'A' model. Underlined #6, big E and v stitch -around 1969 l would guess.
Do they have evidence of a printed pocket bag?

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2015 at 9:53pm
Plain sail cloth pocket bags

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2015 at 3:17am
In that case these date from 1968-1969.

Posted By: Sardine
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2015 at 4:52am
Great find Bob! it's nice to see all that hard thrifting paying off for you. 

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 03 Jan 2016 at 1:26am

Have been introduced to the concept of 'scanning' (thanks to Mrs_Heech) - so will hopefully update some of the existing pics and add some more in the next few days.

"I'm scanning. I'm scannin', I'm scannin', I'm scannin' - Hope you like scannin' too?"

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2016 at 9:24am

Have now replaced some pics with scans, where necessary. Have also updated the 1973-78, 1978-81 and 1981-1990's era models  Sleepy

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2016 at 9:31am
Yo Bob! Are we getting some fit pics on those LEVI's or are you putting them by for Hank? Wink

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2016 at 5:02pm
Originally posted by Dr_Heech Dr_Heech wrote:

Yo Bob! Are we getting some fit pics on those LEVI's or are you putting them by for Hank? Wink" rel="nofollow">

It is likely these will be shelved for Hank.


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2016 at 9:22pm
Good man! Hank will be able to put some big cuffs on those when he's ready Smile

Posted By: aho
Date Posted: 06 Jan 2016 at 12:55pm
Jealous! I've yet to find anything pre-80's on any of my thrifting trips...Need to get back into it!

Doc, I failed to mention that this is one of the best threads I've ever seen in a longggg time and exactly what this community needs! Looking forward to your future posts, particularly on 40s/50's era! Been meaning to take better pictures of my 47's in better lighting. Eventually!

Posted By: sleepymrp
Date Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 4:51pm
So awesome, very useful information ..... Thanks a lot, Dr!!! ..... I really do appreciate your time and knowledge to put everything into this fully illustrated and details  .... 2 thumbs up

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 9:50pm
Thanks for the appreciation!

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2016 at 1:36pm
I am curious about that 605 which I had found at the bay last week, the feature all details of 505
made between 71-76 except the selvage line, the edges come up the same way like 517s did.
I still believe that the denim that is used is still selvage but from the middle part of the panel.
I also wonder why 6 is used for red tab number that orignaly had been used for the orange tab, even more confusing is that LVC produces a 605 that is identical the 606. Btw I have another similar pair of these with a big e tab. Any thoughts!?







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Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2016 at 9:47pm
Zipper fly? Big E? Cant see clearly from the pics but with that yellow overlock 'selvedge' they look to be 505's from the late 1960's?

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2016 at 11:23pm
Dr. Heech, these are post Big E with a single stitch inside the back pockets, so I estimate them to be from around 71-76 and yes, the look similar to 505s. And also I have Big E version which I will post later.
I just wonder for I never read something of 605 and know a already got pairs. Since these are Red Tabs and US mades, its strange the never appeared in magazines, or did they!?

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 8:32am
Possibly, but this thread is for the 501 only.
I will move this post to the right one

Look under the brands section, scroll down to ' Levi Strauss 1971-84 ...' and you'll see it. This is for non-big E stuff.

Posted By: Bob Dale
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2016 at 1:05pm
Heads up -- my 501s , see earlier post are for sale.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 29 May 2016 at 7:33am
Originally posted by aho aho wrote:

... Doc, I failed to mention that this is one of the best threads I've ever seen in a longggg time and exactly what this community needs! Looking forward to your future posts, particularly on 40s/50's era! Been meaning to take better pictures of my 47's in better lighting. Eventually!


Many thanks for the sentiment. I will get back to this thread at some point, and will do my utmost to make a good go of the post-war 501's up until 1960. May take me a while but it's on my 'to do' list for sure.


Posted By: iamcam
Date Posted: 13 Jul 2016 at 7:28am
also big, big thanks from my side for this thread doc!!!

got lucky during lunch break when taking a smoking for a friends wedding to the tailor. 
"oh, nice vintage shop in that basement, why not have a look" and dang: a redline post 60's big E in my size for next to nothing Big smile
as i'm more into vintage levis from the 40s-50s and didn't really know how to properly date a 60-80s model, i skipped through your knowledge dropped here and could instantly determine them as a "route66" (68-71) thanks to this really comprehensive guide, doc - thanks again and i will post pics once they've dried from washing and i found time to mend the blown crotch and pocket
Thumbs Up


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 13 Jul 2016 at 7:35am
Great news iamcam! (and thanks) - Put 'em up here or in the 1870's-1960's Levi's thread Approve

Posted By: iamcam
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2016 at 12:48pm
hey doc,

now that they're dry and mended here's a collection pics in detail (all in one to not blow up this site/thread) - am i right in saying these are route 66s?
anyway: the fit is spot on and they'll be a great pair for summer Smile


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2016 at 1:29pm
Yes they are

Nylon big e tab, l would say denim is pre-sulphur dyed, so before '74. In collector terms, the phrase route 66 is the underlined 6 on the back of the fly button which denotes 501's made from c.1971-1980/81. The other term route 66 is the fact that the jeans used the same dated pocket flasher and guarantee tickets from '66-81.

Nice find. Congrats.

Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 27 Jul 2016 at 2:32pm
I'm not sure if I can post a question here, so please redirect me if I should be posting it somewhere else. 

I have a pair of 501 Levis that I bought in Minnesota in the late 1960s, which I wore on and off through 2005, but unfortunately can no longer wear.  I thought to sell them on EBAY and started to research what the price point should be, only to find out that there is a lot of interest in old Levis (and even in some kind of fake “old” Levis known as “LVC”).  I’ve spent a good deal of time on various web sites trying to understand how to accurately describe and price my 501s, but can’t seem to find any examples which accurately and totally fit them.  Specifically, I can find no mention of printed numbers on the back of the left pocket (which I now know to call the “pocket bag”).   The basic attributes of my 501s are as follows: back of top button = 4, no angle stitch (double row chain, I think), redline in selvedge, 501A, Big E (only on front side – unless the back side is just too worn out to see it?), single needle – not chain – stitch at top of back pockets, both “lemon” and “copper” colored stitching (at various points) and has the following numbers printed on the left pocket bag: “925  1[?]5”.   The question mark in brackets is because, while I think the number is a 1, I’m not entirely sure it is.  I have pictures and will try to figure out how to post them (any hints will be much appreciated).  I will really appreciate any help anyone can give me in figuring out how to price my old (and sadly relinquished, only because I can no longer fit into them) 501s!


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 27 Jul 2016 at 11:17pm
Hi Cassie, and welcome to DB. Photos are helpful especially in determining a price if you wish to sell on ebay etc. The measured size is also helpful (and tag size if readable).
1. Lvc are not fakes, this is a sub-brand of Levi's, which make reproductions of past models (1873-1984).
2. I mention printed pocket bags on the models 1966-70 - they were the first washing instructions, printed on the pocket bags before a wash-tag was introduced.
3. #4 on back of top button, double chain stitch waistband, Big E tab are further attributes of the 501 A,S,F model or the 501 'E' produced in the 1969-1971 era.
4. Help in posting photos can be found here -

Hope this helps.

Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2016 at 7:22am
Hello Dr Heech, and thank you for your reply to my post.  I'll add photos below.  The printing on the left pocket bag is not washing instructions, rather just numbers (which you can see in the photo) and the other pocket bag is blank.   The size printed on the tag on the back is still barely readable and says "W 28 L32".  Actual measurements are waist 27 inseam 27.5.  I have many more photos if there is anything in particular you would like to see, right now I'm going to shoot for photos that depict basic characteristics of my pair of 501s." rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2016 at 7:30am
Sorry about the oversize photo.  I was trying to delete & resize and the thing sent itself.   Will further resize all and resend.  I used the "Message Board" resize option on imgur.  Which resize option would be best?Unhappy


Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2016 at 8:16am
DR Heech,

I think I may have figured out how to properly resize the photos, at least I hope so.  Again, the tag reads W28 L32 and they currently measure:  Waist  27" Inseam 27".  Please let me know if I should post any additional information.

Please let me know if I should post any additional photos or larger versions of any of the attached.

Thank you, Cassie


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2016 at 8:21am
Sorry, l'm not a user of lmigur.
A photo of the pocket bag print would be of interest. They are definately 501 'A' model,'69-'71. Do they have an inside white wash-tag? (Should have - look down the leg outseam, visible from inside of the jean) - will have SF 207 on the back, see previous posts for examples.
If they dont have a wash tag then that print is the reason why

Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2016 at 1:59pm
Thank you for getting back to me. 

The pocket bags are entirely blank on all sides except for the one set of printed numbers shown in the second photo of my last post (which is only on the side of the left pocket which faces into the inside of the denim). 

There is no wash-tag anywhere in the jeans and I don't recall any washing instructions coming with the jeans, but there may have been a paper tag somewhere on the outside of the jeans, which I would have just tossed in the trash because I followed the same "shrink to fit" process my friends and classmates did (wash in hot or warm water, spin dry until damp and wear them from damp until dry). 

I'll add a photo of the seams and another pocket photo in case that might help.

Again, thank you very much for your responses!



Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 29 Jul 2016 at 12:14am
Hi Cassie, not sure what the print actually signifies here, but in the earlier 'hidden rivet' models (say 1940's- late 1950's) there were often numbers with an 'x' in between, for example '25x321' which appeared on one pocket bag of the jeans. Nobody can answer why these numbers appeared or what their purpose was - but your pocket bag does look similar in that sense. Still it is a mystery.
All the other points I've made, #4 on top button and double chain stitch waistband in particular, gesture to your 501's being manufactured between 1969-1971.  Cant really elaborate further.
Thanks for posting Cassie.  Good luck with your sale!


Posted By: Double 0 Soul
Date Posted: 29 Jul 2016 at 12:33am
Originally posted by Cassie Cassie wrote:

There is no wash-tag anywhere in the jeans

Is that not the wash-tag the good dr. noted?
Left side of this^ photograph sticking out of the outseam.

Posted By: iamcam
Date Posted: 29 Jul 2016 at 2:13am
don't think it's the tag, as it's not directly attached to the seam, it seams ;)
whatever - nice pair in good condition Thumbs Up and good luck with the sale 
 (although it won't fetch any big bucks on eBay because of the small size and the fact that these are still a quite common find amongst "thrifters").


Posted By: Cassie
Date Posted: 29 Jul 2016 at 12:26pm
The white sticking out of the left side is part of the pocket bag.


Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 04 Jan 2017 at 10:03am
because LVC introduced a new 1976 repro, here my beautys of the 70s
features chainstitched back pockets and a plain red tab, inner tag
reads '75
size W35 L34" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 07 Jan 2017 at 7:23am
Those 501's are stunning Sympathy!

Not are that I have even begun to attempt the 1947-1959 section on this thread yet, and I dont have any photos to prove it, 
BUT .... I have now seen models made between 1947-1951 with the numbers 14 and 16 stamped on the reverse of the waistband buttons, meaning there was at least one factory with codes as early as 1948! 


Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 10:43am
Hi folks, after making a big clou few years ago with buying a deadstock late 50s 501xx from 70€,
I was lucky enough to finally find, at a reasonable price, a nearly pristine late 60s
501xx. Funny because only two weeks ago I bought the new `76. These resemble a lot to the late
60s 501xx. I will provide you with some pics over easter.
Have a great time!

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 10:50am" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 11:21am
Nice score Sympathy.

Posted By: Double 0 Soul
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 11:50am
Indeed, i would have been that repulsed by the fit pics, i'd have been outta there before i got to the write up.
The last one's a classic LOL

Posted By: massivebonanza
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 12:06pm
...and this would appear to have been his inspiration for those 'masculine' poses.

(amongst the other toys, comics and porno mags!)

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 1:44pm
LOL Oh please you dudes. This pair seems to be clean. Got that wonderfull old cardboard thrifters shop odor, rather than a sweat and oil smell.

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 2:48am
1st row:
top left: LVC '66 29/34, right: original mid to late 60s 29/34
bottom left: LVC '76 31/32, right: original late 60s - early 70s 31/32" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 2:54am
2nd row:

'76:" rel="nofollow">

original late 60s:" rel="nofollow">

denim comparison, original to the left" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 3:01am
more details of the original, watch out for the two tone stitch of the arcs and yoke:" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 3:04am
last row: comparison original late 50s-early 60s to late 60s-early 70s" rel="nofollow">
50s to thr right:" rel="nofollow">

Wish you all a happy easter and some good time.
Many thanks for watching!

Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 3:49am
Great stuff sympathy.

It's interesting that your 50s have shallow arcs and the late 60s have deeper ones, whilst LVC 55 and 66 models have it the opposite way round.

Happy Easter to all too!

Helixing my inner beanie

Posted By: Sympathy-4-The-Denim
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 4:02am
Many thanks Maynard, since I won´t ever wear the 50s for the leather like patch would fall into pieces
I am lucky to find the 60s patch super soft.

Did you also recognise the two tone stitches of the arcs and yoke? I never have seen it before. Currently the only LVCs that shows the two tone yoke are the 44s...

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2017 at 4:20am
Great line-ups, thanks for sharing Sympathy!
Seen plenty of original two-tone arc models, but never seen that two tone yoke before. Beautiful stuff.

Funny how Lvc always cuts its belt loops too long. A feature since 2005, and not something found on originals.

Posted By: angela_lim
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2017 at 4:52am
Hello! I am brand new here and found this forum while researching on a pair of Big E jeans i found yesterday while thrifting. They have no patch which is making it quite difficult to date them (having very little knowledge in this subject) so I was hoping you could help me out! 
I know that they are before '65-'66 because they have the offset belt loop. 
They have a zipper fly, and on the fly button there is a letter "K". 
They have hidden Rivets.
They are not selvedge.  

I will post photos if you are interested in helping me date these!

Thanks so much!

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2017 at 7:08am
Hi Angela, and welcome to Denimbro.

Your jeans sound as though they are 501Zxx or 551Zxx. Can you tell me if the top button is silver or dark bronze in colour?


Posted By: angela_lim
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2017 at 7:15am

It's hard to tell as the button is in bad shape, but I would guess silver.

Posted By: angela_lim
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2017 at 7:18am

I figured I'd just post the photos I have :) thank you so much for your help!!

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2017 at 8:03am
Hi Angela, really nice photos btw!

These Levis are in incredible condition and look like a ladies cut imo. This is due to the outseam which is overlocked (?)
The letter K usually indicates c.1960-65/66 as you indicated, but the blank hidden rivets (along with copper-backed front-pocket rivets) leads me to believe they are late 1950's. Also the chainstitched waistband is orange, whereas '60-65/66 they used a distinct yellow thread. So ladies 701's from the late 1950's is my best guess.

As this thread is for the 501 model only, would you mind posting your photos in the levis 1870-1960's thread, under denim research?

Thanks again for sharing.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2017 at 1:44am
Originally posted by Dr_Heech Dr_Heech wrote:


Not are that I have even begun to attempt the 1947-1959 section on this thread yet, and I dont have any photos to prove it, 
BUT .... I have now seen models made between 1947-1951 with the numbers 14 and 16 stamped on the reverse of the waistband buttons, meaning there was at least one factory with codes as early as 1948! 


Been researching Levis factories, in the hope of finding further clues to the numbers/ letters stamped on the reverse of waistband buttons.
So far there only seems to be 2 Levis manufacturing plants up until 1948 (SF, Cal. and Frankfort, lndiana), so that could tie in with the above.
Trouble is that by 1964 there are another 14 plants operating (and by 1974, there are 63 plants in the US !!) so it nigh on impossible to really find out about the numbering of post-'64 501xx's

Posted By: Karrimor
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2017 at 4:51am
DR Heech! Stumbled across this brilliant post whilst researching transitional 501 models. It's way harder to thrift any decent Americana here in the UK but I've been looking at a pair for sale in the US. Any info regarding date on this pair would be much appreciated! Tried to resize the images but not sure how Dead

The seller told me the selvedge has been cut off when the jeans were altered, that the red tab has LEVIS printed on both sides and that the arcuate "appears to be single needle stitches". 

I can request more pics if necessary :)

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2017 at 5:58am

Late 1950's (so roughly 1956-1959) going by the details you've provided.

Posted By: Hecdog
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 8:54pm
Can someone help me identify this pair of 501s? It's in a box labeled capital E. 

Posted By: Hecdog
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 8:56pm
Here's what's inside. Has a small Levi's history booklet in the pocket and original receipt from 1996, San Francisco purchase.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 9:38pm
Hi Hecdog. These were the first attempt by Levis (USA) of a vintage repro, and came out around 1992-1994.
They were a generic 1966 model as far as l know. Not sure of accuracy but remember they were like 150 quid back then so quite expensive at the time.

Posted By: Hecdog
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 9:43pm
wow, thanks for the info! so impressive what you know.  the receipt is dated 1996. I remember buying them at Macy's SF, but not much else. Like I said, not sure why I bought such a large size. Maybe I misread it. I can see buying a 36 to have it shrink to my size. 

Is there any value to keeping them as is in the box, or is this a pair someone would wear since they're reproductions? Are these LVC then?

Thanks again!

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 9:53pm
These are pre-Lvc. I would sell them boxed to a collector, although doubt if the value has increased since you bought them.

Posted By: Hecdog
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2019 at 10:17pm
got it! that's very helpful, thanks. I'm starting to get the bug! I got excited when I found this pair in my garage. I'll keep them in the box next to those other 501s you helped me with.


Posted By: trapp
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 4:22pm
Hey all, thought I'd share this pair of late 60s - early 70s 501's with you. I found them some months ago and sorta forgot about them in my storage for a while. I think they're a near pristine pair of route 66, but open to opinions;)" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: trapp
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 4:27pm" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: trapp
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 4:30pm
The red tab has writing on both sides, a detail I forgot to photo.

The denim is very hairy and rigid. Not sure the selvedge detail comes out in the photo but it has a faint red (pink) line. 

Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 4:40pm
Bravo trapp! Wonderful find, they look great. Are you planning to wear them?

Helixing my inner beanie

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 10:34pm
Thanks for putting the photos up Todd, as you have already deducted, Big E 'S' type 501's from circa 1970-1971, and the second in the 'route 66' model (earlier model had V stitch '68-'69)
Condition is absolutely mint and as maynard has pointed out, what a wonderful find!
Can't see from the pics but does it have any kind of pocket stamping/print?

Posted By: trapp
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 7:25am
Thanks fellas! 

Excited to have found a pair of Levi's made before I was :)

Maynard, I won't be wearing them. They're at least 3 sizes too big for me in the waist. 

Doc, thanks for the confirmation. As for the pocket bags, no, there is no stamp and it does not appear there ever was a stamp. They're bone white all over with a slight bit of indigo rub off. What would the stamp imply?

Also, I didn't mention that there are no care tags.

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 9:06am
Good stuff.
The care tag, usually marked SF 207 on one side, didn't appear until around 1973. The pocket-bags on 501's made post-war right up until the early 1970's, sometimes had number-stamping but it was quite random. Look at Flash's deadstock pair on the Levis 1860-1960's thread (page 107) for example. There is, as yet, no known reason for this stamping.
The other stamping, mentioned on page 1 of this thread, was the first (printed) washing instructions that Levis introduced. This was a short lived detail that pre-dated the care wash tag.

These jeans are tagged 36x30, do they measure that to the inch?
When soaked they will measure 35x29, and after a few trips through the washer, will end up around 34.5 x 27.5".

Posted By: trapp
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 9:59am
Great info there, thx.

The waist measures 35 and the inseam come in at a bit over 28. Hard to say for sure, but my sense is that they've been soaked, perhaps washed, and maybe the inseam was hemmed an inch. They don't seem to have been washed enough for the inseam to shrink up to 28.25 or so on their own. This guess work, of course. 

Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 10:25am
Probably been soaked then, as the hem looks original.

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