Michael Jordan sneaker collection sells for record-breaking $12 million at auction

Collectibles

A set of six individual sneakers worn by NBA champion Michael Jordan sold for over AUD $12 million (USD $8 million) – at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday, breaking the record for the most expensive game-worn sneakers ever sold off.
UNDATED: Chicago Bulls’ forward Michael Jordan #23 dunks as the crowd takes photos during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers circa 1984-1998. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)
Key facts
  • Called the Dynasty Collection, the shoes were each worn during Jordan’s championship-winning games in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998.
  • The sale also included a set of signed limited photographs by photographer Bill Smith depicting Jordan following the 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1998 NBA Finals, celebrating while wearing just one sneaker.
  • According to Sotheby’s, the sale broke the record for the most expensive game-worn sneakers ever auctioned, became the second most-expensive piece of Jordan memorabilia ever sold and added a record to another already owned by Jordan—the most expensive pair of sneakers ever auctioned, which sold for $2.2 million last April.
Six championship-worn sneakers of Michael Jordan’s sold for $8 million at auction on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. SOTHEBY’S
Big number

$10.1 million. That’s how much the Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 jersey from the famed ‘Last Dance’ season sold for at Sotheby’s auction in September 2022, making it the most expensive piece of game-worn sports memorabilia ever sold.

Key background

Michael Jordan won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls as well as six Finals MVP awards and 5 league MVPs.

Before his first finals victory in 1991, longtime Bulls public relations executive Tim Hallam made a request of the soon-to-be champion in a much-talked-about NBA story—he asked for one of his game-worn Air Jordan sneakers.

After the game, Jordan obliged, signed and gave Hallam the shoe, a tradition he continued out of superstition for the next decade. The shoes not given to Hallam (which have since been passed on to a collector, according to Sotheby’s) were auctioned in Friday’s sale.

Six shoes work by Michael Jordan in championship games sold for $8 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. SOTHEBY’S
Crucial quote

“Today’s record-breaking price is a testament to the GOAT,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectables, said in a statement. “A truly unparalleled moment and milestone in auction history, the sale of these six championship-clinching sneakers will likely never be replicated.”

“Images of a Woman” painted by The Beatles’ in 1966. CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2023
Tangent

Jordan’s sneakers aren’t the only piece of celebrity memorabilia to have sold this week.

The only painting known to have ever been created and signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star and George Harrison of The Beatles fetched triple its expected price at auction Thursday when it sold for $1.744 million at Christie’s in New York.

Titled “Images of a Woman,” the Fab Four are said to have created the psychedelic painting while they were confined to the Presidential Suite at Tokyo’s Hilton Hotel during a Japanese tour stop in 1966.

The painting was part of a lot at Christie’s called “The Exceptional Sale,” which also featured items like Elvis Presley’s Fred Gretsch guitar (sold for $302,400) and a gold crocheted vest that belonged to Janis Joplin, which did not sell in Thursday’s auction.

On Wednesday, Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler auctioned off his collection of 120 guitars and amps for £8.8 million ($11 million) at Christie’s in London. The auction broke the world record for the most expensive 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard, according to the BBC.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East charities.

What to watch for

More auctions. Soccer star Lionel Messi’s first ever Barcelona contract, which he signed on a napkin, will be sold by London’s Bonhams auction house this March and is expected to fetch as much as $400,000.

Other high-profile items soon to come up for auction include a painting by the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who abdicated her throne earlier this year; an Aston Martin owned by Rush drummer Neil Peart; and a collection of hundreds of costumes and props from Netflix’s hit TV series “The Crown.”

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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