A pair of red sneakers worn by NBA champion Michael Jordan in 1984-85 at the start of his Chicago Bulls career is estimated to fetch 100,000-150,000 Swiss francs ($109,278-$163,916) at an online auction next month, Sotheby’s said on Wednesday (April 28).
But bids could soar as collectors of the “Air Jordan 1,” the star lot among 13 pairs from former NBA stars, search rare finds at its first Swiss auction entirely devoted to sneakers, billed “Gamers Only.”
Game-worn sneakers from Jordan’s rookie season – identical but bearing his autograph – fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said.
“You can see there is a little bit of wear from the game on the shoes, which really adds to the character and the story of this beautiful and iconic pair,” Josh Pullan, managing director of Sotheby’s global luxury division, told Reuters Television.
The leather and rubber shoes, sizes 13 and 13.5, were designed by Nike’s creative director Peter Moore, Sotheby’s said.
Jordan played 13 seasons with the Bulls, winning six championships, and is currently the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
The Geneva auction includes basketball shoes worn by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patrick Ewing, Stephen Curry and Scottie Pippen.
Pullan, noting that its other sales include Cartier gems, Rolex Pearlmaster and Hermes handbags, said: “I think people, irrespective of whether it is sneakers or more traditional collecting categories, look for the craftsmanship, the design and the story, the provenance of those pieces.”
He said the sneakers market was something new, finding its way in all continents and attracts a new generation of collectors.
“I think it’s really something that struck a chord with a generation, with an audience, and that is really irrespective of the different country,” he said.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)