Christie’s is now taking its turn in the high-end sneakers market. At the auction house’s first sale of its kind on Thursday, Christie’s announced it would be donating a treasure trove of original Michael Jordan sneakers from the player’s early career with the Chicago Bulls in the 1980s. Auctions will bring a total of 11 lots to bidders in an online sale that will run from July 20 to August 13.
Christie’s enlisted the help of Stadium Goods, a sneaker retailer, to organize the sale titled “Original Air: A Sale of Michael Jordan GameWorn and Player Exclusive Sneaker Rarities”. A pop culture moment that marked the era that eventually became Jordan’s monumental global brand began in 1985, with the inaugural release of the player’s Nike Air Jordan 1. With Jordan in his early years with the Chicago Bulls in the mid-1980s, the Nike partnership was a landmark deal in professional sports.
Topping the sale are rare vintage pairs at various prices. A Nike Air Ship Jordan worn during her pre-professional season (prior to the Nike deal) will be offered at a value of $ 350,000 to $ 550,000. A pair of Air Jordans 7 “Olympic” worn in their 1992 Men’s “Dream Team” Olympic match in the United States is estimated to be between $ 50,000 and $ 70,000; and a pair of classic Jordan 14s worn before his last Bulls game on the market with an estimated value of $ 6,000 to $ 8,000. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The sale responds to a growing demand for pop culture products in the luxury sector. Christie’s partnership with Stadium Goods allows the house to access a base of potential customers outside of the fine art world. Auction follows viral documentary series The last dance, which follows Jordan’s nearly two-decade career, as well as the one-lot sale of the 1985 Jordan shoe worn by Sotheby’s in May which found a buyer for a record price of $ 560,000.
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“The tremendous impact of Michael Jordan on basketball and sneakers is universally recognized, and it can be easy to think that there are no new stories to add to the legend. As we have seen with The last dance and now, with our “Original Air” auction with Christie’s, there are still lesser-known stories in the legacy that are of great interest, ”John McPheters, co-founder and CEO of Stadium Goods, said in a statement.
Streetwear and hype sales have increased in the auction market. “This highly organized sale marks Christie’s entry into a new collection category that merges the history of sport, art, fashion and contemporary lifestyle after the great success of our Hype sale in December 2019”, said Aline Sylla-Walbaum, Global Director General of Luxury. at Christie’s. “We have sought to offer only the highest quality pieces in the same way we evaluate items for Christie’s Luxury sales, seeking quality, rarity and uniqueness of design. “
Christie’s is also running two online auctions alongside “Original Air,” as part of the new sports-focused auction series called Game changers. A private sale showcase, “For Love of the Game” will be open from July 20 to August 14. The second auction will feature works by American sports photographer Walter Iooss Jr. to online bidders from July 23 to August 11.