Levi Strauss medal designed by Hal Reed, struck by Metal Arts in quantities of 400 bronze, 180 pure silver and 28 10kt gold. Obverse: Portrait, Everyone knows his first name, Levi Strauss (signature), HR monogram. Reverse: Woodchopper, cowboy on horse, and gold panner, Levi’s logo. 47 x 45 mm.

Levi Strauss was 17 years old when he emigrated from Bavaria to New York in 1847. He worked for his two brothers, peddling clothing and household items throughout towns and villages in rural New York and Kentucky. Spurred on by exciting tales of opportunities for instant wealth in the California Gold Rush,, Strauss sailed to San Francisco on a clipper ship in 1850, loaded with canvas for tents and wagons. But after a short visit to the gold country, he realized there was a better use for the durable material. He took his unsold canvas to a tailor and had them fashioned into overalls. He later switched from canvas to a tough cotton fabric loomed in Nimes, France — called serge de Nimes (denim).

In the 1860s Jacob Davis, a tailor in Carson City, Nevada, began riveting the pocket corners on miner’s pants for added strength. Strauss liked the idea, and jointly with Davis applied for a patent, which was granted in 1873.

Strauss was a very generous man; in 1897 he contributed 28 perpetual scholarships to the University of California. Upon his death in 1902, he bequeathed tens of thousands of dollars to charitable institutions such as the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Home for Aged Israelites, as well as to Roman Catholic and Protestant orphanages.

During World War II, Levi’s® were declared an essential commodity and were sold only to people engaged in defense work. Following the war, there was such an overwhelming demand for Levi’s® that deliveries had to be rationed for almost two years. Today Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world. The company’s motto, “Everyone knows his first name,” refers to the fact that Levi’s® has entered the world’s vocabulary as a generic term for blue jeans Extracted from a brochure published by Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco.

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