Great 1950s Lee Riders. Half Selvedge denim construction with a Scovill Gripper Zipper zip. This particular pair of jeans measured about 28×28, but had been taken in at the waist and down the outer seams of both legs to construct a slimmer fit. The indigo was still dark, a desirable trait for jeans of this age. See my other Lee Riders post for an example of a slightly later pair.
The red label on this Lee 101-J was used until around 1956. This particular style was introduced in 1948 as the Lee Rider Jacket according to Lee Europe’s website. Later examples remain almost entirely the same with subtle variations to the inside label. In future iterations of the red and gold label have the model and size highlighted in gold thread. The longer “bar” label also produced in red and gold on black. Sometime in the 60s, red was dropped entirely from the label.
This example is in particularly amazing condition for its age. Appears to be washed once if at all. Sanforized so shrinkage wouldn’t be of concern, but I can imagine it was washed or soaked once to ensure the indigo wouldn’t leech into the gold embroidery thread.
Not entirely sure the origin story of this jacket, but it’s probable the owner was a rodeo participant and the jacket a promotional item from Lee. Cheyenne is of course the capital of Wyoming and host to one of the largest, longest running rodeos in North America – Cheyenne Frontier Days, founded in 1897.
This jacket is available for sale.
This Buddy Lee Doll is of the composition variety and measures 13″ head to toe. There are no Buddy Lee markings on the doll body. Clothes bear an early Lee Union Made Label. The overalls, shirt and hat were essentially miniature replicas of actual Lee products as Buddy Lee was in fact a salesman’s sample as well as a promotional tool.
Unfortunately with this doll the paint is rough, almost porous on the body. The arms however are much smoother. Appear to be of a different material than the composition body. Left leg appears to have been repaired. Painted boots are a little chipped up. Right thumb and pinky appear to have been chipped.
Lee Riders, also known as the 101Z debuted in the 1950s and represent a transition from the company’s work wear history in to more casual, mass appeal wears.
On this particular pair the inside Tag is marked: Lee Riders Sanforized Waist 32 Union Made in the USA. The Button back is stamped: R. Zipper is made by Talon. Lee riveted front and coin pockets. “lazy S” stitched on rear pockets. The “branded” Lee patch is long gone. You’ll notice on Lees, unlike Levi’s the selvedge denim self edged appears on only one side of the outer seam.
As with most items from time and place predating the “throw-away age”, these jeans are well-worn and have been mended multiple times. There’s a bout a 4.5″ x 6″ patch on the right thigh. A 2″ x 3″ patch on the left side below the rear pocket. A hole and repair with red thread on the left knee, a small hole forming below the zipper on the right side front, and a 4″ hole in the left cheek with additional wear below. Some white paint and other darker stains. Round out the patina that only time can create.