Ultra-Rare Artist-Designed Nike Sneakers On Auction At Sotheby's
Sotheby’s continues to reign supreme as a disruptive force in the vintage fashion and memorabilia market. Just four months ago in May, Sotheby’s set a new record when Michael Jordan’s Game-Worn Autographed ‘Nike Air Jordan 1s’ sneakers from 1985 sold for US$560,000 in a special single-lot online auction. Last week, their auction dedicated to hip hop successfully garnered US$2.1 million with 91 per cent of all lots offered finding new owners.
1/8 ‘NYC Pigeon’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB by Jeff Staple
Signed by Staples and deemed the "sneaker that started it all", the ‘NYC Pigeon’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB designed by Jeff Staple, the sneakers take inspiration from the pigeons of New York City; the colour of its outsole, for one, is reminiscent of the bird’s foot. When it was released in 2005, production was limited to 150 pairs, which caused long queues outside Staples’ Lower East Side store. Remembered as one of the wildest Nike releases in history, the crowd grew so large that the New York City Police was called in to keep order. For the safety of those lucky enough to buy them, police cars were employed to escort them home!
2/8 Nike Dunk High Pro SB ‘FLOM’ by Futura 2000
The Nike Dunk High Pro SB ‘FLOM’ sneaker designed by Leonard Hilton McGurr a.k.a. Futura 2000 is a pair of only 24 ever made. Futura 2000 titled the model ‘FLOM’, an acronym for ‘For Love of Money’, binding its exterior with denominations of printed money. The design also pays tribute to his background in the graffiti scene. This sneaker is considered one of the rarest as only three pairs were raffled to the public, while the remaining 21 were gifted to friends or family members.
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3/8 ‘Paris’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB by Bernard Buffet
The Cult Canvas lineup also includes a pair of ‘Paris’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB and features the work of Bernard Buffet. Created for the Nike’s travelling White Dunk Exhibition in 2003, approximately 200 editions were produced for the host cities of the tour. It was created during Nike’s testing process before the final design went into production, and no two pairs are the same. In ‘Rope/Special Cardinal’ colours, the 'Paris' sneakers are symbolic of the city, and in true Buffet fashion, features a clown and ballerina.
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4/8 Nike Dunk SB Low by Katsuya Terada
This unreleased SB Dunk was also designed for Nike’s traveling White Dunk Exhibition in 2003, and is one of just 12 in existence. The artist behind the pair is no other than Japanese illustrator Katsuya Terada, famed for his mangas and novels as well as his character designs in anime and games.
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5/8 ‘Gardener Wood’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB by Michael Lau
The ‘Gardener Wood’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB was released in 2006 from an exclusive production run and was designed by Michael Lau, the godfather of designer toys. The design is a homage to his skateboarding comic strip, Gardener, as the dark brown and wood finish of the sneaker includes four drill holes on the ankles that are reminiscent of a skateboard. The sneakers come with a beautifully finished wood box and vinyl toy.
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6/8 “What the Dunk” Nike Dunk Low Pro SB by James Arizumi
Designed by Nike designer James Arizumi, the ‘What the Dunk’ remains one of Nike SB’s most popular models. The sneakers themselves are a mismatch, or patchwork, of different elements from 31 popular Nike SB designs including an embroidered pigeon from the Pigeon SB Dunk, and neon ‘Jedi’ laces from the Jedi Dunk, to name a few. With a design goal to be the “Dunk to end all Dunks”, Nike claims the creation of the'What the Dunk' was “painstaking, meticulous, and ridiculous on purpose.”
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7/8 ‘Friends and Family’ Nike Dunk Low SB by Piet Parra
As the name suggests, this special edition Dunk Low was produced strictly for friends and family only. Behind the design is Pieter Janssen, also known as Piet Parra, a painter and animator renowned for his illustrations of elongated characters with almost beak-like noses.
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8/8 ‘Bred’ Nike Air Jordan 1 High OG (1985) by Peter Moore
The Nike “Air Jordan 1” is one of the most iconic designs in the history of both streetwear and basketball, and is a key part of the origin of the Air Jordan brand for Nike. Designed by Peter Moore, the sneakers are now a classic. Nike is currently on the Air Jordan 34. These particular sneakers in black and red, or ‘bred', are a retail pair from 1985 in pristine condition. More notably, they were seen in a Nike commercial that was banned after the NBA sent a letter to Nike in to inform them that Jordan’s colourful shoes were a violation of the league’s uniform clause.
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