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Christie’s launches ‘Department X’ as collectible sneakers, street-wear boom

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Nike Unreleased Air Jordan VI Donda West Sneaker

CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2022

Christie’s is launching a recent department to capitalize on the booming marketplace for collectible sneakers, streetwear and sports history.

The auction house on Monday announced its Department X, giving Air Jordans and Supreme skate decks their very own category, alongside Impressionist & Modern Art and Old Masters. The move is the most recent sign that a wave of younger collectors are redefining the collectibles world.

“When taking a look at the auction world and the best way collectors are evolving and the brand new collectors coming into the marketplace, we felt this can be a strong a strong marketplace,” said Caitlin Donovan, Christie’s head of Handbags, Streetwear and Sneakers, who will head Department X. “It’s only going to get stronger and that is why we felt it was time to dive headfirst into this recent market.”

Department X will sell rare collectibles across music, fashion, art and sports history, but sneakers and streetwear will likely be amongst its biggest categories. It’ll hold online auctions, with live previews in Recent York, and personal selling exhibitions all year long.

Sneakers and sports collectibles have exploded in popularity and value in recent times. In June, Christie’s held a “Six Rings − Legacy of the GOAT” sale dedicated to basketball legend Michael Jordan’s profession, with sales nearing $1.5 million. And Sotheby’s this month sold Jordan’s “Last Dance” jersey − from his 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 − for $10.1 million, setting a recent record for sports memorabilia.

A group of 200 pairs of Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 sneakers designed by the late designer Virgil Abloh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this yr for $25 million. That was greater than eight times the estimate, with one pair selling for $350,000.

Sotheby’s launched its streetwear category in December, with a lot of the buyers between 20 and 40 years old and 80% of bidders recent to the auction house.

Kanye West Grammy Worn, Nike Air Yeezy 1 Sneaker Prototype

CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2022

As a part of its Department X launch, Christie’s will hold a private-sale exhibit titled “Ye Walks,” celebrating two pairs of Kanye West’s sneaker designs. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype was the primary West designed with Nike. The Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI was created in memory of West’s mother.

Hats, shirts, skate decks and even pinball machines from Supreme have also continued to soar in price. In 2020, Christie’s offered a group of 253 Supreme t-shirts for $2 million.

Donovan said younger collectors gravitate to the pictures and culture they grew up with. Street wear, rare sneakers and memorabilia tied to sports icons are prone to grow in value as younger collectors gain wealth.

“We go for what tugs at our own past experiences and heart strings,” she said. “So for these collectors of their 30s and 40s, it is a celebration of their culture.”

Some collectors say six-figure sneakers and t-shirts are a product of a speculative bubble, but Donovan said the rise of so-called “hype-wear” is prone to endure despite falling stocks and recession fears.

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