Auction house Webb’s has auctioned a collection of Nike sneakers for the first time, in the form of upcoming luxury auctions.
Webb’s was established in 1976 and is known for selling high-end items such as artwork, vintage cars, jewelry, and even fine whiskeys.
But Monday was all about seemingly humble sneakers. Over 20 styles were offered in various sizes, with estimates ranging from $220 to $280 each.
Christine Power, head of jewelry at Webb’s, said the collection was entrusted by someone who regularly offers collections to the auction house, who “had an interest in sneakers and wanted to create a little more space”.
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“It’s the first time we’ve had a collection like this, and we were super excited because it was an experience for us,” Power said.
“We’ve already had a very positive response, with people also showcasing their collections.”
Power said the auction house’s push of the sneaker collection on social media was a ploy to target younger audiences, who don’t traditionally participate in auctions.
“The interesting thing is that sneakers are such a huge part of anyone’s wardrobe, so the stereotype that they are for teenagers – but I think sneakers as iconic as these resonate with people at all levels.”
The “iconic” collection includes different versions of the Air Jordan 1, the first collaboration between legendary basketball player Michael Jordan and Nike.
The story behind the shoe was revolutionary for basketball in the 1980s.
“At the time, basketball players were only allowed to wear white shoes and would be fined if they didn’t,” Power said.
“Nike decided they would cover the fine for Jordan if he wore the Air Jordans, and they thought they could recover at least $3 million. He is now worth over $1 billion.
Anything with Jordan’s name on it has value, according to “sneakerhead” – someone who collects sneakers – Sean McIntee.
“There are high value Jordans, between US$10,000 and US$100,000 – shoes that Michael Jordan has worn himself,” McIntee said.
However, McIntee thought Webb’s collection was “slightly less valuable, but attractive[ed] to the mass”.
The auction took place on Monday evening, with the Nike Jordan 1 High Fly Ease shoes reaching the highest bid at $406.
Webb’s said the same buyer of the Fly Ease shoes also purchased two other limited-edition pairs and was a buyer who “understands value”.
A total of eight of the 20 pairs of sneakers sold, for a total of $2004.
The sneaker auction prompted Webb’s to search for similar items that might appeal to the next generation of bidders.
“It appeals to a younger audience, which is part of our target,” Power said.
“When you look at sneakerhead culture, they’re on the same level as art collectors.”
This isn’t the first time Webb’s has auctioned off valuable wardrobe pieces, having auctioned the Hermès Birkin in March, as well as the estate of defunct Kiwi brand Miss Crabb.