Vintage Levi Tag Identification & Value Guide (Types & Designs)

The iconic denim brand, Levi’s has produced countless apparel in its storied history of more than 150 years. Each piece of clothing has its unique characteristics and manufacturing details, including its tags, which not only date but authenticate its timeless pieces.

Today, old denim with a rare vintage Levi tag is a valuable collectible! So, this expert guide will help you identify different types of vintage Levi’s labels and tags based on their schemes and logo designs! So, join me on this fascinating journey of identifying what makes Levi’s Tags vintage and worth a fortune!


  • The iconic Levi’s tag with Levi’s ® woven on red ribbon on the right back pocket of the 501 jeans debuted in 1936 and probably cost around $3000 or more. 
  • Colorful tabs like red, orange, and black are all from specific eras. Among these, the red Levi’s tags are the oldest. 
  • The popular Levis’ for Gals Collection, introduced in the 1960s through the 70s, exhibited the white tab with black lettering and is currently priced around $500 or more. 
  • The silver tab defined the entire grunge denim era of the late 80s and early 90s. 

How to Know If Levi’s Label Is Vintage?

A vintage Levi’s tag may not look significantly different from a modern one, but certain vintage features can help you spot a real old Levi’s tag.

  • Date codes with two or three digits on the care tags are usually from the 70s or 80s.
  • Factory codes of some of the earliest Levi’s care tags comprised only one digit. 
  • Washing instructions printed on the back pocket of Levi’s jeans are pre-1967.
  • Paper tags on the left side of the pocket bag are dated from 1967 to 1983. 
  • Levi’s lettering with a capital E usually dates to before 1971. 
  • Levi’s printed on only one side denotes that the item was produced before the 1950s.

A Brief History of Levi’s Tags

A German man named Levi Strauss opened a wholesale dry goods business in 1853, which would later become Levi Strauss & Co, a global fashion trendsetter. The first Levi’s vintage tag is credited to the National Sales Manager, Chris, who suggested placing a ribbon in the seam of a rear patch pocket.

Thus, the first tag was born and showcased on 501®s in 1936, followed by denim jackets. At first, Levi’s ® was printed on the little red tab on a single side before it was transitioned into a two-sided tab with a large E around the mid-90s.

The Big E era also experienced a variety of tab colors, including orange, black, white, and silver, each color for different clothing ranges. The large E transformed into a small e in 1971, reading Levi’s ®.

The items now featured small white care tags, which gave way to larger tags called red batwing around the late 80s, and black batwing, which dominated most of the 90s.

3 Types of a Vintage Levi Tag & Their Average Costs

Levi’s introduced its personalized tag to stand out from competitors who were busy manufacturing blue jeans like theirs. Over the years, the styles and fonts of Levi’s tags and labels have changed.

Here’s all you need to learn about Levi’s vintage tags starting from the early 90s.

1. Levi’s Tab with Uppercase ‘E’

Beginning in 1936, you can spot this tag with the word Levi’s with a capital E woven on a ribbon attached on one side of the 501s. It was later attached to denim jackets and ran until 1971. The estimated price range of Levi’s with this tag is between $30 and $1000.

2. Levi’s Tab with Lowercase ‘e’

As the name suggests, this Levi’s tag features Levi’s lettering instead of Levi’s, with a lowercase ‘e.’ Moreover, the lettering will be inscribed on both sides instead of just one. This Levi’s tag belongs to 1971 and costs around $40 to $250 approximately.

3. Levi’s Tab with Trademark Symbol

If you see Levi’s tab with nothing but its trademark symbol, that is R, it is likely the vintage 80s tag. Yes, the company produces only 10% of this type to preserve its trademark, but it is still as authentic as the iconic red tab with capital E. Levi’s denim with a Trademark tag costs around $20 to $200.

Here’s How to Identify A Vintage Levi’s Tag & Appraise Them

When identifying Levi’s tags, several factors must be considered, such as color, timelines, codes, logo designs, and fonts, as described below!

1. Vintage Levi’s Tags’ Age & Timeline

As per general standards, tags should be 20 years old to be vintage. So, it is important to learn about the timeline or age of Levi’s tags. For instance, the first red label with Levi’s lettering was introduced in 1936 and remains legendary today!

The table below explains it better with the estimated costs based on the year and popularity of each tab.

Manufacturing YearSpecific Features Estimated Cost (Single Unit)
1930s (from 1936)The iconic red tab, Levi’s with big E woven in white, single-sided, first appeared on 501®s and denim jackets$30 – $1000
1950s Double-sided tabs, Levi’s lettering visible on both sides, iconic blue tab representing Denim family collection 
$50 – $4000 (rare Levi’s can cost up to $60,0000)
1960sOrange tabs for experimental designs, Black tabs with gold lettering, white tabs on corduroy jeans and jackets
$40 – $1500 
1970sLevi’s woven in white on colorful tags with lowercase ‘e,’ care tags were added 
$40 – $250
The 1980s to early 90s Silver tab, for the 90s grunge denim, ended the baggy trend of the 80s
$40 – $1200

10 % of Levi’s items come with a blank red tab with nothing but a trademark symbol, that is, ®, to preserve the use of the trademark. So, if you come across one, it is probably from the 80s or later.

2. Old Levi’s Tag Colors

Since the brand used different colors for different time periods and clothing ranges, tab color can help you spot a vintage Levi’s tab instantly.

While the classic red Levi’s tag is the oldest, the more colorful ones, like orange and silver, are newer. Use this table to see how the tag color impacts Levi’s resale prices.

Vintage Levi’s Tag ColorsYearsClothing FeaturesEstimated Prices
Red (with White Lettering) 1936-1971501®s, denim jackets$30 – $1000
White Tag1954Corduroy jeans, jackets, Denim Family, Non-denim, Levi’s for Gals collection$50 – $600
Black (with Gold/ Orange Lettering)1964 – 1965 Anti-wrinkle denim (Sta-Prest), super slims, fashion fits, aesthetical  reasoning, half-visible trademark $10 – $1500 
Orange (with Black Lettering)1969Fashion clothes (bell bottoms, boot cuts, skirts, activewear, accessories, bags)$40 – $1200
Silver (with White Lettering)1988Baggy/grunge clothes$40 and $1200

3. Vintage Levi’s Care Tags

From small white paper tags of the 1960s to the clothed and branded red batwing in the late 90s, care tags are the easiest way to identify Levi’s tag. The table below explains it perfectly.

Vintage Levi’s Care Tag Active Years Collectible Features 
Proto Care Tag Pre-1967 Washing instructions on the pocket bag of jeans
Small White Paper Tag1967 – 1984Sewn on the left side, below the pocket bag or along its seam, washing tips on one side & numbers on the other, unbranded, two or three-digit date code
Large White Tag 1983 – 1986No branding, a lot of white space, almost the same info as a small white tag, two or three-digit date code
Red Batwing 1987 – 1995sBranded, different designs, primary tags of 501s, Levi’s written in white, red batwing on top, size and lot number in the middle, MADE IN USA tag below, two, three, or four-digit date code
Black Batwing 1991 – 2003 Ran concurrently with red batwing, Levi’s written in white on black at the top, date code, type of fit, etc. in the middle, size code at the bottom, two, three, or four-digit date code

4. Antique Levi’s Tags Based on Popular Levi’s Styles

Levi’s 501 is undoubtedly the most popular Levi’s vintage clothing collection. It is not only rare but the original and first Levi’s item to wear the iconic red tab. Below are some popular Levi’s styles with their popular tabs to help you identify the tags.

Levi’s Style Year of Introduction Popular Vintage Levi’s Tab Specific Features Estimated Cost (Single Units)
Levi’s 501 1873 Red, Orange Mid-rise, straight leg, button fly $15 – $7000 (rare Levi’s can cost up to $60,000)
Levi’s 505 1967 Red Straight, mid-rise, zip fly $18 – $3000
Levi’s 517 1969Orange Slightly flared bottom, mid-rise, depending on the era of origin
$30 – $1000
Levi’s 5511961 Red Tapered fit, loose, ‘mum jeans look, zip fly 
$60 – $1500
Levi’s 511 1980sWhite, RedSlim fit, tapered leg, high waist 
$20 – $500
Levi’s 6461969Orange 70s flair, mid-rise or high-rise, zip fly$60 – $800

5. Old Levi’s Tags Logo Designs

Levi’s logos play a crucial role in identifying its vintage tags. For instance, while the Maiden Wordmark is the oldest logo, the Light Red Batwing one was introduced in 1969 and was the brand’s first item, with its logo featuring a small ‘e.’

The table below explains more about the vintage logo designs and their features, along with the estimated prices.

Vintage Levi’s Tags Logo Years Active Design Features Estimated Costs (SIngle Units)
The Maiden Wordmark 1853 – 1892 Narrow rectangle with owner’s name in uppercase, monochrome color, numbers 14 and 16 on both ends
$15 – $1000 
The Two-Horse Emblem 1892-1925 Ornate design, an image of two horses pulling in the opposite direction trying to rip off a pair of jeans, black and white color palette
$25 – $300
Red Levi’s Insignia 1925 – 1929 Minimal design, soft tan background with bright red Levi’s Strauss written in caps, bubble type text with round edges and black outline 
$30 – $100
Blue and White Levi’s 1929 – 1943Solid red background, dark blue extra large logo outlined in white, ‘America’s Finest Overall’ tagline below the logo, first bore the logo with a capital E
$150 – $6000
The Dark Blue Symbol 1943 – 1949 Light yellow background, logo in caps but lettering in calm blue, America’s Finest Overall placed below the logo in light gray color 
$300 – $5000
The Red and White Symbol 1949-1954Red frame with lower case slogan ‘When there’s work to be done, wear written above Levi’s in all caps, geometric apostrophe instead of regular circular one, etc.
$300 – $2000
The Vintage Levi’s Symbol 1954 – 1969 Dark red and white color scheme, a new tagline – ‘Vintage Clothing’ below a sleek and stylish logo, sharper lettering, etc. 
$50 – $300 
Light Red Batwing 1969 – 2003 Batwing-shaped logo in white over red frame, Logo came with a small ‘e’ for the first time. 
$40 – $1800

What is Levi’s 501?

Levi’s 501 is the original jeans from the trendsetting brand. The jeans were specifically designed for men working in the toughest environment. It was first released in the 1890s as a classy straight fit.

Where to Buy Vintage Levi?

Etsy, eBay, Urban Outfitters, Color Me Vintage, Detour Vintage, etc. are some online stores to buy a vintage Levi.

Why do Levi’s Have Tabs on the Back Pocket?

Levi’s introduced tabs on the back pocket to stand apart from other brands producing the signature blue jeans, especially in the 19th century when the company’s patent expired.

My Levi’s Has No Tag at all. Is it a Fake?

Previous owners may or may not have removed the original tag of the product, but it is possible that you own a Levi’s that’s worth a fortune since the earliest Levi’s didn’t come with tags and are rare. We are talking about the 1920s.

When it comes to buying old, tattered, or even damaged Levi’s products, do not be afraid to put your hands on them. Who knows, you may be holding a vintage costing thousands of bucks. All you need to do is check Levi’s tags, and you’ll know what it’s worth in a jiffy.

Like these tags, small apparel accessories also make valuable collectibles. So, don’t forget to check my detailed identification guides on antique cufflinks and buttons!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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