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Jeans from 1880 that just sold for $76,000 have very racist message inside

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A pair of Levi's jeans from the 1880s was just sold for $76,000 at an auction in New Mexico - but the clothing items have a surprising racist message inside.

In a report from Jacob Gallagher of The Wall Street Journal, the antique jeans are one of the most expensive ever to be sold.

Kyle Haupert, a 23-year-old vintage dealer from San Diego who bought the jeans earlier this month, told the outlet that he was "surprised" he purchased it.

"I'm still kind of bewildered, just surprised in myself for even purchasing them," he said.

The report explained that Haupert put up 90 percent of the winning bid, and the remaining 10 were from Zip Stevenson, an elder statesman of the vintage market who has been running the Los Angeles shop Denim Doctors since 1994.

With the buyer's premium included, the pair paid $87,400 for the jeans.

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Michael Harris, a self-called denim archaeologist, discovered the jeans several years ago in an abandoned mineshaft in the American West.

The pants legs can be seen sprinkled in wax from the candles miners who had to light the way in the mines.

Haupert said that the age is apparent in the cloth patch along the beltline, suspender buttons, a single back pocket, and more, which are things that only a pair of jeans from that time could have.

Despite the unique relic, the part that takes on racist undertones is on the inside of the pants.

The phrase "The only kind made by white labor" is printed on a pocket.

The WSJ said a Levi's spokesperson explained that the company used the slogan after 1882's Chinese Exclusion Act.

This act prevented Chinese laborers from entering the US when anti-Chinese discrimination was all over the country.

Levi's then enacted its own anti-Chinese labor policy, which is indicative of the "made by white labor" tagline on its products and advertisements.

Once people came across the report on social media, they couldn't help but point out the US' "dark" history.

One person on Twitter wrote: "US history is just one big dark period."

"WHOOPS! I bet that's not in the company museum…" another added.

A third wrote: "No matter how much some folks try, the real history of this country's beginning will also make its way to the surface. Stuff like this wouldn't be as much of a surprise if the country actually faced head-on, the many atrocities carried out in the name of white supremacy…"

Elsewhere, the Levi's spokesperson further told the WSJ that the company scrapped its policy and dropped the slogan in the 1890s.

They further explained that the brand is now "committed" to using its presence to "fight against racism in all its forms."

Indy100 reached out to Levi's for comment via email.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 and admonished by Congress in 2011-2012. The government also made the commitment to try and "preserve civil rights and constitutional protections for all people."

Read the full report here.

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