Nike Air Jordans are among the most sought-after sneakers around and collectors seeking rare Jordans for sale will usually be overjoyed when they can get their hands on a pair.
Every so often a particularly rare pair will go for a big price, especially if the man himself has worn them. That is what awaits the pair of red and black Air Jordan XIIIs worn by the superstar in his ‘Last Dance’ game (Game 2) in the 1998 NBA finals, which have been signed by the man himself.
These will be sold by Sotheby’s auctioneers in New York this month, with these sneakers expected to command a price of somewhere between $2 million and $4 million (£1.6-3.6 million).
They are the latest in a number of pairs of Jordan’s sneakers to have been sold by Sotheby’s this year already. As CNN noted, this being 2023, it matches Jordan’s vest number 23 and makes this the ‘Jordan Year’, in which a lot of memorabilia associated with the player will be sold, often at staggering prices.
As the news agency noted, Sotheby’s sales of Air Jordans this year have also included pairs associated with other famous figures, such as 13 pairs designed in tribute to rapper Notorious B.I.G. that were auctioned in January. However, while all exceeded their sale price of $5,000, the top figure for any of them was $32,000; a lot of money, but tiny compared to this latest offering.
The premium value of Air Jordans associated with the man himself has been demonstrated in previous sales of his own kit. The current record for a pair of sneakers - and the first time a pair had ever sold for over $1 million - was the $1.47 million recorded for a pair of signed Air Jordan Dunk Sole sneakers auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2021.
Indeed, Jordan’s appeal can also be highlighted by the fact that his Game 1 jersey from the 1998 finals sold last year for $10.1 million, making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever.
Other past Sotheby’s sales include a 2020 auction of Jordan’s 1991 game worn, signed Air Jordan High Top Sneakers, as well as his home uniform from the 1984-85 season and his 1985-86 signed Air Jordan Dunk Sole sneakers, which had previously been the first pair of his to ever be auctioned.
Of course, the fact that a big-name auction house normally associated with selling rare works of art, jewellery or cars should be handling millions of dollars for pairs of sneakers worn on basketball courts may surprise some people.
Undoubtedly the direct link to Michael Jordan himself has everything to do with this, shown by the huge gap between the prices his sneakers reached compared with those of Notorious B.I.G.
The good news is the rare Jordans we have on offer are nothing like as costly as these, so you won’t need to be super rich to afford them. But you will still get something that is scarce and much sought-after, a collector’s item that you will love for many years to come.