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Auction Action by Altan Insights: Christie's Original Air Takes Flight Auction

Auction Action by Altan Insights: Christie's Original Air Takes Flight Auction
July 1, 2021
Dylan Dittrich

It’s not particularly often that fractional investors get solid comps for some of the rarer sneaker offerings available. This week, though, we virtually visit the Original Air Takes Flight auction from Christie’s, where many results will be of interest. While some sneakers delivered strong results, it should be noted that a somewhat alarming number (58 of 73 lots) failed to garner a starting bid. Gulp. Now, in the interest of clarity, the starting bids weren't zero - they were typically a shade below the lower bound of the various estimate ranges, as is often customary. Still, it bears watching if demand is cooling (particularly for sneakers in the mid four figure range) or if this auction leading into a holiday weekend is simply a one-off.

On to the results!

(Note: prices realized include 25% buyer's premium)


1985 Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago”

Christie’s: $20,000


1985 Air Jordan 1 High “Royal”

Christie’s: $11,875


We begin with the 1985 Air Jordan 1 Highs in OG colorways. What better place to start than with the OGs?! Given the sneaker’s unmatched cultural relevance, it pops up in a few different places on fractional markets, and we anticipate that we’ll see more of them as Rares continues to launch new offerings. There is one pair of the “Chicago” colorway in the 1985 Air Jordan 1s collection from Otis, and there are two “Chicago” pairs in the follow up 1985 Air Jordan 1 II collection (alongside one “Banned” pair). The “Royal” colorway appears in collection I as well, along with three other colorways, for a total of five pairs.

Otis 1985 Jordan 1s: $33,680

Otis 1985 Jordan 1s II: $22,200

As is the case with many Jordan-related memorabilia and cards, the market for 1985 Jordan 1s had softened a bit in recent months. However, the $20,000 result for the nearly pristine “Chicago” pair is very strong, up there amongst highs. The “Royal” result edges into the lower end of the estimate range, though a result in excess of $16k was achieved earlier this year on StockX and Sotheby’s sold a pair for $12,600 in late 2020. Still, results remain choppy and volatile. Another “Chicago” pair with hangtag sold for $11,070 w/ BP at Goldin this weekend, while a “Banned” pair with hangtag sold for $5,850 with Grey Flannel Auctions. These two Christie's comps combined would come close to equaling the total value of collection I, while if you doubled the Chicago sale, you'd be well in excess of collection II's current market cap. However, it bears noting that the "Chicago" pairs in collection I & II do not feature a hangtag, and one of the collection II pairs is scuffed. Additionally, keep in mind that these are just two comps in a volatile market; if you doubled the Goldin comp, you'd only be in-line with collection II's value, before accounting for the "Banned" pair. Collection II is down 7.5% to date, while collection I is up 2.06%.


1985 Air Jordan 1 High “Metallic Orange”

Christie’s: $18,750

Even in 1985, releasing sneakers for more lifestyle-oriented consumption was prevalent, and the Metallic versions of the Air Jordan 1 were conceived to satiate that need. While there isn’t a “Metallic Orange” pair currently trading on fractional markets, this sale merits highlighting as there is currently one 1985 Jordan 1 Metallic pair in the G.O.A.T.s collection from Rares. The pair from Rares is Metallic Blue, but each Metallic colorway from 1985 is quite rare, particularly in never worn condition. The Metallic Orange sale is close to the top end of the estimate range. The G.O.A.T.s collection also includes a 1985 Air Jordan 1 OG pair in the Neutral Grey & White colorway, as well as two Kobe Bryant “Friends & Family” Air Force 1s. The collection is offered for $55,000 and is 17% filled.

Air Jordan 3 + 8 “Kobe Bryant Pack” Friends & Family Exclusive

Christie’s: No action at $30,000 starting bid

Otis: $23,163

Kobe’s sneaker free agency in 2002-2003, occurring after he had left Adidas and before he joined Nike, has become a treasured part of sneaker lore. This pack, released in very limited quantities to friends & family in 2016, commemorated two Jordan pairs worn by Bryant during that free agency season. The pack on Otis launched at $21,000 in November and has since traded up narrowly to $23,163. Unfortunately, we don’t have a great data point here, other than recognizing there was no buyer at $30,000.

Kobe’s sneaker free agency has made other inroads in fractional markets, with Collectable offering a game-worn, signed pair of Reebok Questions worn by Bryant for $88,000 last month. Those will begin trading in August. Interestingly, a black pair of Jordan 8s, game-worn and signed by Bryant that season, sold for $20,724 this weekend at Grey Flannel Auctions.

Air Jordan 1 High “Colette” Friends & Family Exclusive

Christie’s: $17,500


This pair has been previously discussed in our sneaker breakdowns, and the result here is down from a $23,940 result with Sotheby’s in March, though it offers some confirmation that the Sotheby’s result wasn’t a completely egregious outlier. The Colette is just one of eight pairs in the Modern Classics collection on Otis, which is currently valued at $16,000 total. Yes, the most recent sale of one sneaker in the collection remains above the market value of the collection. The collection is down 47% in the past month and 50% from its IPO level of $32,000.


Air Jordan 4 “Oklahoma” Player Exclusive

Christie’s: No action at $6,000 starting bid


This sneaker, as described by Christie’s, was given to players, staff, and friends & family of the Oklahoma Sooners football team during their 2018 bowl season. It is one of four pairs in the Exclusives collection from Otis, alongside an Oregon Jordan 3, a Georgetown Jordan 4, and a Jordan 5 Tokyo 23 Yellow Toe sample. The collection launched in October for $26,500, and has since traded down nearly 30% to $18,576.50. A Georgetown Jordan 4 was also up for sale in this Christie’s auction, however, it was a more rare version from 2012, rather than the version in the Otis collection from 2019. At a starting bid of $15,000, that sneaker also drew no takers. In fact, there were 11 collegiate player exclusives up for auction, and just one, a Florida Jordan 4, drew a bid, realizing a price of $6,875. This, however, isn't entirely unique to this auction, as the Sotheby's Scarce Air auction in the spring also featured a handful of collegiate PEs that went unsold, though there was more demand, and a Florida Jordan 4 garnered $7,560 at that event.


Other results that caught our eye...

We covered the 1985 Jordan 1s, but thus far, neglected to mention a special OG Air Jordan 1 High from this auction. Selling for $27,500 was a 1984 Air Jordan 1 High Salesman Sample in the black and red colorway, along with the accompanying briefcase. Being able to tote your original Jordan 1 Highs in a bespoke salesman briefcase is an all-time flex, and even thinking of an era in which salesmen needed to pitch the Jordan 1 to retailers is a trip. It also bears noting that this pair would have come from one of the very earliest productions of the sneaker in 1984.

Additionally offered was an original Nike development sample from the mid-1980s. The sneaker is a tremendous piece of sneaker history, with design elements present from the Jordan 1, Jordan 2, Air Force 2, and Nike Air Python. Essentially, it offers a glimpse at experimentation and the design process from the Swoosh during an absolutely pivotal era. Despite all of that, the pair did not fetch a starting bid at $80,000..

Finally, the Eminem x Air Jordan 4 “ENCORE” Friends & Family edition also failed to draw a bid at $40,000. The sneaker has long been a grail for many collectors, and two sample pairs are currently available with Sotheby’s via buy-it-now for $47,000 and $53,000 respectively. It would come as little surprise if a pair of these one day found their way to fractional markets, though the level is, at this point, quite uncertain. It is clear that the market has softened, as a pair sold for $56,700 in the Sotheby's Scarce Air auction in March, where a StockX version of the sneaker also sold for $50,400.

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