I n a record-breaking year, Sotheby’s produced numerous groundbreaking sales in both the Sneakers and Sports Memorabilia categories.
Two standouts of the year came in the form of single-lot auctions featuring game-worn jerseys of unparalleled historical significance: In May, the department sold Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey, followed by Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance” jersey in September. The sale of Maradona’s jersey for US $9.3 million set a record for the highest price ever achieved by a game-used sports item, only to be broken by Jordan’s, which sold for $10.1 million. With gold and silver titles, the jerseys hold present status as the two most valuable pieces of game-worn sports memorabilia.
As for the year ahead, Eric LiBassi, an associate specialist in the department, predicts that “luxury collaborations with sportswear brands will continue to rise to the top of the market.” The last twelve months were marked by significant collaborations, including the highly anticipated sale of two hundred pairs of Nike Air Force 1s designed by the late Virgil Abloh and released in collaboration with Louis Vuitton.
“In terms of silhouettes, I think that the Air Jordan 2s and Air Jordan 4s will continue to rise steadily and gain popularity,” LiBassi continues. “And game-worn sneakers will gain popularity and achieve some really high figures.”