Auction house Sotheby’s has had its sights on streetwear for quite some time now. And with the latest unveiling from its permanent “Modern Collectibles” category, any sneakerhead would be eager to get their hands on some of the newly listed gems.
Going once, going twice — Sotheby’s has dug deep into the sneaker archives with several pairs bearing heavy cultural significance. The crown jewel of the auction is Nike and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White “The Ten” collection, a rare and complete set of ten sneakers that encompass the late designer’s first collaboration with the Swoosh.
Consisting of the Air Jordan 1, Air Max 90, Air Presto, Air VaporMax, Air Max 97, Air Force 1 Low, Blazer Mid, Converse Chuck Tayler, Zoom Fly SP, and React HyperDunk, the collection was a benchmark for contemporary sneaker culture. Abloh was the first outside designer to get such an open invitation to tinker with the Air Jordan 1 and other classic Nike silhouettes. The deconstructed, rebuilt aesthetic became signature to Abloh’s Nike sneakers and would become a through-line for more collaborations in the years to follow. Sotheby’s estimates the complete collection will sell for $30,000 to $40,000, but there’s a good chance the final price comes in even higher.
If 30 to 40 bands is just out of reach but you still have an extra $10,000 to $15,000 lying around, you’ll be eligible to bid on the Kanye West’s iconic Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” in mint condition. Signed sneakers from Drake and Larry Bird will also be included in Sotheby’s latest lots, as well as athlete samples made for Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
Air Jordan 1s signed by Virgil Abloh are estimated to fetch $5,000 to $10,000, and a set of Air Jordan 4s designed by KAWS have a starting bid of $2,200. Digging deeper into the hearts of Jordan fans, Sotheby’s is also presenting an original, unworn pair of the Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago” from 1985 that’s expected to sell for $12,000 or more.
A Nike MAG sneaker first seen in Back to the Future 2 and released in 2011 is estimated at a $25,000 to $40,000 value, while another pair from 2016 featuring self-lacing technology is expected to come in even higher at $60,000 to $80,000. Outside of sneakers, a shirt worn by Will Smith in Men in Black is also available, as is a Louis Vuitton x Supreme skateboard deck and a Michael Jordan rookie card.
Not just for the streets anymore — Given that the streetwear industry’s worth is climbing well into the billions, more traditional markets are now making a concerted effort to cash in on the craze. Sotheby’s previously told Input that the auction house’s interest in streetwear is only going to rise, especially because younger people are more open to investing in the pieces than those with the same means from previous generations.
Interested parties can place their bids on Sotheby’s website, where the auctions are open from today through March 31. Some items already have thousand-dollar bids, and you can expect the prices to keep going up. Streetwear is rooted in nostalgia, and that’s something you can absolutely put a price tag on.