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Christie’s marks new benchmark for sneakers at auction

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The Christie’s and Stadium Goods partnered sale ‘OriginalAir: Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Player Exclusive Sneaker Rarities’ has set new records, with a pair of Nike’s worn by Jordan fetching 615,000 US dollars, making them the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction.

The red, black and white Nike Air Jordan 1 high tops were sold as part of a wider online auction of Jordan's footwear, and were from an exhibition game in Italy where he shattered the backboard, leaving a piece of glass in the left shoe’s sole, according to auction house Christie’s.

Overall, the Jordan memorabilia auction sold for 931,875 US dollars, with 82 percent sold by lot with all but two lots finding a buyer.

The sale witnessed high levels of global attention and 72 percent of registered bidders were new to Christie’s, explained the auction house. There was also “unprecedented” online engagement with over 90,000 unique visitors to related sale pages from 126 countries.

Other highlights in the auction sale included the very pair of Air Jordan 7 ‘Olympic’ worn in the Dream Team’s gold medal game in 1992, which sold for 112,500 US dollars, a pair of Air Jordan 1 TYPS, signed sneakers from 1985, that sold for 62,500 US dollars, and a pair of Air Jordan 4 ‘Fire Red,’ player exclusive, game-worn signed sneakers from 1989 that realised 27,500 US dollars.

Additionally, a portion of proceeds from a game-worn pair of Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’ from the legendary 1995-96 season that sold for 56,250 US dollars, is designated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF).

Michael Jordan's game-worn sneakers set new record, selling for 615,000 US dollars

Caitlin Donovan, head of sale, vice president of handbags and accessories at Christie’s said in a statement: “We are delighted with the results of Christie’s inaugural Sneaker sale and excited to see an unprecedented amount of engagement from around the world with online visitors from over 120 countries. Additionally, the virtual event surrounding the sale was among the highest attended online events Christie’s has hosted since lockdown.

“As we embark on this new category, we are encouraged with the interest from not only new buyers but also from established Christie’s clients who purchase across other sale categories. We look forward to our future partnered sales with Stadium Goods which will take place later this year.”

John McPheters, co-founder and co-chief executive of Stadium Goods, added: “We’re thrilled at the strong results for ’Original Air’ and to again be part of a new height achieved for sneakers at auction. The new mark reached with the “Shattered Backboard” AirJordan1 is special for Stadium Goods because that model occupies such a singular place in sneaker culture.

“This sale once again confirms that sneakers are cultural artefacts and deserve to be listed alongside other luxury items in the collectables marketplace. We’re tremendously appreciative of Christie’s partnership on ‘OriginalAir’ and honoured to share this achievement with them.”

Images: courtesy of Christie’s

Michael Jordan
Stadium Goods