NATIONAL (WTRF) — Sunken treasure comes in the form of work pants that were pulled from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, according to reports by ABCNews.

Appraisers describe the oldest known pair of jeans in the world and share that they have sold for $114,000.

The five-button, white, heavy-duty miner’s pants were scooped up with some 270 God Rush-era artifacts that totaled nearly $1 million in Reno, Nevada a week ago.

Holabird Western American Collections share that the white, heavy-duty miner’s pants with a five-button fly were among 270 Gold Rush-era artifacts that sold for a total of nearly $1 million in Reno last weekend.

There is a current argument afloat that these particular pants may be the predecessor of what we know today as the iconic Levi Strauss jeans. The vintage pants predate the first officially manufactured jeans by San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. by 16 years. Historical evidence links Strauss, while he was a wealthy wholesaler of dry goods, to what could be the very early version of what we know as jeans.

Levi Strauss & Co. historian and archive director, Tracey Panek tells ABCNews that any claims about their origin are “speculation”, and further shares with the Associated Press that she doesn’t believe that they are “miner’s work pants.”

Origin story notwithstanding, the pants certainly came from the S.S. Central America that sank in a hurricane on September 12, 1857. The ship was packed with passengers who traveled from San Francisco headed to New York via the Panama Canal.

Managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group, Dwight Manley, stated that the jeans were like the first flag on the moon and that the find was a historic moment in history. Mr. Manley’s company owned the artifacts and had put them up for auction.

The items were entombed under the ship’s wreckage at 7,200 feet (2,195 meters) in the Atlantic Ocean for more than a century. Among the items were the purser’s keys that opened the treasure room where tons of Gold Rush coins and assayers’ ingots were kept. These sold for $103,200.

The bounty of shipwreck hauls has been sold for tens of millions since recoveries began in 1988. But the auction last Saturday was the first time any artifacts were auctioned off. Another auction is planned for February.

Fred Holabird, president of the auction company, shared that there had never been a recovery of artifacts so encompassing of this Gold Rush time capsule.

The oldest known lid of a Wells Fargo & Co. treasure box was sold for $99,600.

An 1849 Colt pocket pistol sold for $30,000.

An 1856 gold coin, worth $20 at the time, that was minted in San Francisco and later stamped with a Sacramento drug store ad was purchased for $43,200.

Most of the passengers aboard the S.S. Central America left San Francisco on another ship — the S.S. Sonora — and sailed to Panama, where they crossed the isthmus by train before boarding the doomed ship. Of those on board when the S.S. Central America went down, 425 died and 153 were saved.

The mixture of high-society and blue-collar artifacts from San Francisco had historians and collectors intrigued. The pants were pulled from a truck of a man from Oregon, John Dement, who served in the Mexican-American War.

Manley stated that the special textile would now be known as “the Gold Rush jeans” and would be held in a private collection. The pants had no company branding, patches, buttons, or rivets.

Holabird said he told Panek while she examined the pants in Reno last week there was no way to compare them historically or scientifically to those made in 1873.

Panek was particular about the design and style of the pants not being typical miner’s work pants, citing the color and lightweight fabric. Holabird said he told Panek while she examined the pants in Reno last week, before the auction, there was no way to compare the pants historically or scientifically to those made in 1873.

The materials, product availability, manufacturing techniques, and market distribution between 1857 dated pants and the time Strauss came out with the rivet-enforced pocket was different, Holabird said. He said Panek didn’t disagree with him.

Levi Strauss & Co. has adamantly stated that up until 1873, the company was strictly a wholesaler and did no manufacturing of clothing.

Holabird, having done the research for the auction, believes the pants could have been made by a subcontractor for Strauss. He decided to “follow the money — follow the gold” and discovered Strauss’ had a market reach and sales, unlike any other company at the time.

Holabird was quoted by ABCNews, that Strauss was the largest single merchant to ship gold out of California from 1857-1858.

The list of the $1.6 million cargo that left San Francisco on the S.S. Sonora in August 1857 for Panama was topped by Wells Fargo’s $260,300 in gold.

Holabird said that five other big banks followed and then another by Levi Strauss with $76,441. Levi Strauss had at least 14 similar shipments averaging $91,033 each from 1856 -1858.

Holabird shared that the marketing and sales reach of Strauss made him a marketing genius with his dry goods stores in the California gold regions. It was added that Strauss would have to contract with producers for an extensive production run to fill the hundreds of stores he owned.