Sotheby’s is looking to cash in on two pandemic trends: online buying and nostalgia for Michael Jordan.
The company is offering a game-worn pair of Nike sneakers from Jordan’s glory days in a stand-alone online auction. The autographed shoes are estimated to fetch as much as $150,000. Bidding begins at noon Friday in New York and will continue through May 17, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
The legendary athlete is hotter than ever following the recent release of “The Last Dance,” an ESPN documentary series. The 10-part chronicle focuses on Jordan’s career and how the Chicago Bulls chased their sixth NBA championship during the 1997-98 season. Each week, about 6 million viewers tune in to see the show, which offers plenty of footage of the star athlete in his prime.
Sotheby’s holds a record for sneakers at auction with $437,500 paid for Nike’s “Moon Shoe” last year. The company has been selling art online since the coronavirus pandemic forced auction houses to close. In March and April, Sotheby’s had 32 online sales, generating $60.4 million. A Cartier bracelet fetched $1.3 million last month.
Sotheby’s postponed its live May evening auctions of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art until the end of June. This month, it’s offering lower-value works from these categories online and expects to raise $20 million. Items for sale include an abstract painting by Christopher Wool, estimated at $1.2 million to $1.8 million, and a still life by Giorgio Morandi, estimated at $1 million to $1.5 million.
The “Air Jordan 1s” were custom-made for the Hall of Famer in sizes 13 and 13 1/2, in the Chicago Bulls white, black and red.
The shoes are on offer from the collection of Jordan Geller, a collector and founder of the Shoezeum, the world’s first sneaker museum, Sotheby’s said.