Meet Yukio Takahashi: The Collector behind the 1300-piece Supreme Collection

By Sotheby's
This May, Sotheby‘s is presenting a collection of almost every Supreme accessory ever produced. The Supreme Vault: 1998 – 2018 is online-only sale featuring a landmark archive interweaving luxury, art, and skate culture. Here we talk to the collector Yukio Takahashi who passionately assembled this 1300-piece collection over a decade.
Supreme x Everlast Punching Bag
Estimate: HK$ 80,000-120,000/ US$ 10,000-15,000

Why is the brand Supreme special to you?
Supreme was introduced to me in 2004 during my freshman year at high school in New York. The combination of my fascination with skateboard culture, living in New York, and being introduced to the brand by someone I looked up to at the time, cemented a strange fondness for Supreme at the age of 14. I was given several articles of clothing, one being a seersucker button-down that I still wear today.

I have always enjoyed collecting. In kindergarten, I would take all the stickers and stamps from returned homework assignments and tape them into a notebook. In First Grade, I collected Space Jam tops from Jell-O pudding packs. By Second Grade I was into Star Wars cards, and Third Grade saw an obsession with collecting Pokémon that lasted for about three years. By 6th Grade I had moved on to pens and pencils.

For me, the obscurity in Supreme's accessories is the most exciting part of its product line. While some things like ashtrays are now predictable, other things like drum sets, porcelain cupids, and Hot Wheels, are not. Since I do not wear branded clothing, Supreme's accessories was a marriage of my need to collect and my support of a skate brand dear to me.

Whether I was skating, measuring pieces of wood, charging my phone, hammering screws, or going to class, Supreme had me covered. With its Mophies, Antihero decks, and The North Face backpacks, it provided me with so many things I used on a daily basis. It is incredibly multi-faceted and can be a part of anyone's life in any number of ways. While I was attracted to the brand’s skateboarding roots, others may have been drawn to the Louis Vuitton collection. Supreme’s genius collaboration choices consistently introduce the brand to new demographics. I am just one member of the ever-expanding audience that finds itself appreciating Supreme.

The brand’s accessories are at the same time unpredictable and entertaining. You can expect a skateboard. You can expect another t-shirt. No one expected a brick. Or a sled. This collection best presents the "Fuck You We Do What We Want" ethos of the brand.

Yukio Takahashi with his Supreme collection. © Travis Vaughn

What made you decide to sell your collection of 10 years to us at Sotheby's?
I have had many enticing offers for my collection over the years and was not ready to part with it because it was incomplete. On May 10, 2018, I drove to New York and completed my collection with the acquisition of the Everlast Heavybag. At this point, my collection was concluded and I decided to see out the year with any additional accessories that might become available, then evaluate whether to continue into 2019. Towards the end of the year, talk of displaying the accessories in Los Angeles came up as well as the possibility of an auction. Once Sotheby's was mentioned, I realized there would be no better way to sign off. As demonstrated in its NIGOLDENEYE sale, the capabilities of Sotheby's are second to none. I have enjoyed collecting Supreme for nearly a decade, the process and result have both surpassed my expectations. The collection is complete to the best of my knowledge and therefore is at a good place to end.

Do you have any personal favourites in the collection?
Hammer, Measuring Tape, Black Camacho, Slugger, Basketball, Heavy Bag, Tape, Buck Knives, and Zippos.

Supreme x Coleman Mini Bike
Estimate: HK$ 50,000-70,000/ US$ 6,000-8,000

What exactly makes this sale so special?
This is the most complete collection of Supreme accessories on the market, totalling over 1,300 items. Just about everything is in pristine condition (with very few exceptions including the black dog bowl that was kicked into the wall by an ex), and every item released in every color (up to 2018) is in there. This collection is the embodiment of the well-rounded and bizarre spirit of Supreme.

This auction is taking place at a time when Supreme’s notoriety is at an all-time high. While Supreme is nearing a household name, it continues to show no signs of slowing down and still appears distant from any pinnacle.

How many of the rarer pieces, such as the pinball machine, punch bag, guitar, motorbike etc. were made?
Supreme does not number any of its products or release manufacturing quantities. However, pinball machines were not sold in Asia, so this may be the first offered on the continent. I have heard of machines selling for US$150,000. The Black Camacho doll is one of the things I fear I will not be able to replace. While the other three colors were sold, the black was a gift given to friends and family in 2002.

Supreme x Stern Pinball Machine
Estimate: HK$ 400,000-600,000/ US$ 50,000-80,000

Is this pinball machine the only one in existence that still functions? Please clarify.
I am aware of about 10 pinball machines that are in use. This is without question the most extravagant piece in the auction.

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