Sotheby’s has announced that it will auction a trove of vintage items linked to Pop culture figures across sports, film and music in a new five-part auction series titled From the Archive. The auction, which will offer memorabilia and streetwear, is open to bidders from July 20 to 31.
Leading the offerings is LeBron James’s game-worn Jersey from his tenure on the Miami Heat. The 2014 shirt reads ‘King James’ on the back. It commemorates the January 2014 unveiling of the NBA’s Name Collection uniforms. The top lot is expected to sell for $150,000 to $200,000. The series will also bring Yeezys Nike Air prototype, a collaboration between Kanye West and Nike released in April 2009, consigned by New York luxury collector, Ryan Chang, with a pre-sale estimate of $12,000 to 15,000. A signed Michael Jordan game-worn jersey hailing from his first season on the Wizards in 2001 carries an estimated value of $50,000 to 70,000.
The series comes after the auction house’s May sale of Michael Jordan’s game-worn 1985 Nikes that set a new record for a pair of retro sneakers at $560,000. The auction was well-timed with the tail-end of the hit docu-series ‘The Last Dance’ that chronicled Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls.
Elsewhere in the sale are a pair of Nike ‘Jedi’ Dunks signed by actor, Mark Hamill as ‘Luke Skywalker’ will also go up for auction with an estimate of $15,000 to 20,000. The pair comes from the collection of Las Vegas shoe connoisseur, Jordan Geller, the same seller of the record-breaking Air Jordans.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Director of eCommerce development is leading the firm’s expansion of sales centered around pop-culture this season. Wachter shared the standards within the luxury collectibles market mirrors the rules that apply to fine art. “Collectability, rarity, re-sale market, and conservation are among collectors’ top priorities and the biggest factors we consider” said Wachter in an interview when asked about how these items are sourced. “We aim to offer items that are considered irreplaceable, have exceptional stories and provenance, and would be difficult to source elsewhere”
“Many of these collectors have been waiting patiently for years for the market to ‘arrive’, so to speak” said Wachter.
As virtual collecting channels expand, houses are focused on developing long-term solutions to cultivate collectors in a revamped marketplace. “These sales are a way to resonate with younger audiences and collectors, who may convert into other categories at Sotheby’s over time.” said Wachter, who notes that as each of the items comes to the market without a reserve, the lure for emerging buyers is there.
“As we’ve seen in our previous auctions of sneakers, streetwear and collectibles, these bidders are not defined by one category at Sotheby’s,” adding that among them is interest spanning from contemporary art to Old Masters.
Top picks for the series feature names with well-established global brands. “Kanye West is now widely regarded as an icon in music, fashion and design” noted Wachter. “Due to their incredible accomplishments, LeBron James and Michael Jordan have two of the largest audiences in the history of sports.”
When asked about the challenges faced in finding works for consignment in a newly established market, Wachter noted a few key considerations. “In a way, we need to sort through it and ask questions like: what will resonate with our audience? Does this item speak to something in our history that’s interesting or different? Does the item have an audience built into it?