How much would you pay for some sweet new kicks? $200? What about really old ones? A pair of 1972 Nike waffle racing flat “Moon Shoes” sold for $437,500 at Sotheby’s New York this afternoon, setting a world record for the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction.
The buyer was Miles Nadal, a Canadian businessman who founded the investment firm Peerage Capital. “I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment,” he said in a statement, calling the Moon Shoes “a true historical artifact in sports history and pop culture.”
For its first-ever foray into the world of collectible sneakers, Sotheby’s teamed up with with sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods to present 100 of the rarest sneakers ever made. Last week, ahead of the planned auction, Nadal shelled out $850,000 on the other 99 lots for sale, but the 1972 Nikes eluded his grasp, with the consignor opting to move forward with the online sale. In the end, he got them anyway—but he had to pay almost half of what he put up for the other 99 pairs.
The Moon Shoes—one of 12 pairs made for the 1972 US Olympic Trials by Nike co-founder and Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman—are an important piece of the athletic brand’s history. No other unworn pairs are known to exist. The record-setting sale topped a pre-sale estimate of just $160,000.
The Moon Shoes eclipsed the $190,373 sale in 2017 of signed Michael Jordan Converses worn by the then-future NBA star during the 1984 Olympic basketball final, which saw the US bring home the gold.
“The success of ‘Sotheby’s & Stadium Goods Ultimate Sneaker Collection’ sale is a testament to the strength of this burgeoning collecting category,” said Noah Wunsch, Sotheby’s global head of ecommerce. (Notably, though some have viewed Sotheby’s foray into sneakers as a bid to expand its audience in Asian markets and among millennials, Miles Nadal does not exactly fit either profile.)
Nadal plans to showcase the full collection at the Dare to Dream Automobile Museum, his private museum in Toronto. His collection features 142 cars and 40 motorcycles, including the world’s first motorized automobile, the 1886 Karl Benz Motorwagen.
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