Jul 14, 2016
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Levi's wins Einstein's jacket at Christie's auction

Jul 14, 2016

Levi Strauss & Co. has purchased a vintage Levi's leather jacket owned by Albert Einstein through Christie's auction with a winning bid of $146,744.

Albert Einstein's "Cossack" jacket. Photo: Levi Strauss & Co.

The vintage brown leather "Cossack" jacket belonged to Albert Einstein and was passed directly through his family until it was offered up at Christie's in London.

Einstein notably wore the jacket through the 1930s, starting when he began his official US citizenship proceedings. It became part of his iconic image and journey as an American, and he was photographed wearing it everywhere.

Einstein's colleague Leopold Infeld wrote of the iconic jacket in his autobiography, saying "If Einstein dislikes his fame and would like to increase his privacy, why does he... wear his hair long, a funny leather jacket, no socks, no suspenders, no ties? The answer is simple... [Einstein was a minimalist.] Long hair minimized the need for the barber. Socks can be done without. One leather jacket solves the coat problems for many years.”

Christie's Thomas Venning, Head of Books & Manuscripts, London, said, "We are pleased that Levi Strauss & Co. has acquired this iconic item of clothing for their archives – something the Nobel-Prize winning scientist was rarely photographed out of, even during his 1935 holiday to Bermuda.”

Levi's spends a considerable amount of time preserving the history of it's brand, with denim museums in flagships and tributes to brand artwork throughout retail stores. Accordingly, Einstein's iconic jacket is a huge win for Levi's brand marketing.

“Albert Einstein was a genius and an icon. This jacket is just one more example of Levi’s products authentically being at the center of culture,” said Tracey Panek, Historian for Levi Strauss & Co.

Panek continued, “Amazingly, after all these years, Einstein’s jacket retains his scent and smells of smoke. It feels so satisfying to be a part of preserving this history. I'm thrilled to see the product coming home to the LS&Co. Archives.”


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