A pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s, made for and worn by U.S. basketball player Michael Jordan, are seen in an undated handout photo ahead of an online auction by Sotheby’s New York. Sotheby’s/Handout via Reuters
(Reuters) – An autographed and well-worn pair of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s Nike shoes hits the auction block at Sotheby’s on Friday, in a celebrity-infused test of the market for sneakers as highly-prized collectibles.
The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, are expected to fetch between $100,000 to $150,000 in the online auction that closes on May 17, Sotheby’s in New York said.
Sotheby’s, better known for selling multimillion-dollar art, last year held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers. It set a new world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes, known as the “Moon Shoe.”
The white, black and red Air Jordan 1 sneakers up for auction on Friday have red laces, are signed by Jordan, and show frequent wear by the former Chicago Bulls player. Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right), Sotheby’s said.
The shoes are being sold by collector Jordan Geller, founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum, where they were previously on display in Las Vegas. They were the “crown jewel” of the museum, drawing fans and collectors from all over the world, according to Geller.
The auction coincides with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the last episode of the 10-part ESPN television documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan.
“With all the excitement surrounding Michael Jordan and ‘The Last Dance,’ my wife and I decided that it’s time to let the shoes find a new home,” Geller said in a statement.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Tom Brown