The flagship lot of this sale of sneakers, estimated between 12,000 and 25,000 euros, sits in the center of the showroom, well sheltered in its glass cage. “The Jordan 1 High Off-White, signed by Virgil Abloh, the famous and unfortunately late designer of Offwhite and Louis Vuitton”, presents the expert Nicolas Kerkeny.
“Without the signature, it’s already a pair that is quite collected and quite rare”, because only a few copies are printed. “If we add the signature of Virgil Abloh, it becomes a completely unique model, which we will never find in the whole world”, he continues.
A few steps further, another collaboration, this time with rapper Travis Scott, catches the eye. “He is the first to have inducted the swhoosh (Nike logo) upside down”, specifies Nicolas Kerkeny. This fantasy, added to the notoriety of the artist, pushes the shoes up to 1,650 euros floor price.
Elsewhere on the shelves, a mismatched pair in the “Sashiko” style, an ancestral Japanese embroidery technique close to “patchwork”, rubs shoulders with Nikes stamped Dior, Gaultier or Yeezy, the line of the eccentric Ye – formerly Kanye West.
Basketball player Michael Jordan, muse of a collection in his name, is also well represented. The (replicated) models with which he won the NBA championship in 1991 and 1996, are offered at 950 euros each.
This kind of collector’s pack, released in 2006 and now “not found” in traditional shops, is only printed at “50,000 world units”, explains Nicolas Kerkeny, who himself approached private collectors to find the majority of lots for sale.
– For all budgets –
A total of 207 pairs will be offered, “for all budgets and all sizes”. If the Jordan Highs hand-signed by Virgil Abloh are estimated at more than 10,000 euros, bidding for the cheapest lot will start at 160 euros. The range of sizes, from “35 and a half to 48” is also deliberately wide, although the medium sizes dominate (37 to 43).
For Alexandre Millon, the auctioneer, the challenge of these auctions is to “reach all audiences”, including specialists “in other disciplines of art”. “We start from flints to sneakers!”, he laughs, noting that all generations of buyers are interested in the basketball market today.
“It’s quite interesting to make the comparison with bibliophiles,” he continues. According to him, lovers of books and shoes have the same attention to detail, the same “rigor” in terms of quality. The slightest scratch, the slightest sign of wear and tear can cause the sale price to drop “by 40%”. A missing element, a label or a lace, also means a loss of value which amounts to tens of euros.
This “passion” of the public, the “phenomenon of rarity” maintained by the brands and the celebrity of their ambassadors have thus transformed the “sneaker”, initially a simple wardrobe item, into a “collectible object, object of desire”. .
Faced with the explosion of the sector and the proliferation of resale sites, the mission of auction houses is now to create a “legitimate” and “objective” quotation.
“All these prices that need to be indisputable cannot be provided by the god-algorithm StockX”, the main trading platform, concludes the auctioneer.