Home Jersey shirt Christie’s launches ‘Department X’ in collectible sneakers, streetwear boom

Christie’s launches ‘Department X’ in collectible sneakers, streetwear boom


Nike Unreleased Air Jordan VI Donda West Sneaker


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

The auction house announced its X department on Monday, giving Air Jordans and Supreme skate decks their own category, alongside Impressionist and Modern Art and Old Masters. The move is the latest sign that a wave of young collectors is redefining the world of collectibles.

“Looking at the auction world and how collectors are changing and new collectors are coming into the market, we thought it was a strong and robust market,” said Caitlin Donovan, bag manager. handbags, streetwear and sneakers at Christie, who will lead the X department. “It’s only going to get stronger and that’s why we thought it was time to dive headfirst into this new market.”

Department X will sell rare collectibles across music, fashion, art and sports history, but sneakers and streetwear will be among its biggest categories. It will hold online auctions, with live previews in New York and private sales exhibitions throughout the year.

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

A collection 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 year for $25 million. This was more than eight times the estimate, with one pair selling for $350,000.

Sotheby’s launched its streetwear category in December, with most buyers between the ages of 20 and 40 and 80% of bidders new to the auction house.

Kanye West worn at the Grammy Awards, Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneaker prototype


As part of its Department X launch, Christie’s will hold a private sale exhibition called “Ye Walks”, celebrating two pairs of sneakers by Kanye West. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype was the first West designed with Nike. The Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI was created in memory of West’s mother.

Supreme’s hats, shirts, skateboards, and even pinball machines also continued to soar. In 2020, Christie’s offered a collection of 253 Supreme t-shirts for $2 million.

Donovan said young collectors gravitate to the images and culture they grew up with. Streetwear, rare sneakers and memorabilia tied to sports icons are expected to rise in value as young collectors get richer.

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

Some collectors say six-figure sneakers and t-shirts are the product of a speculative bubble, but Donovan said the rise of so-called ‘hype-wear’ is set to continue despite falling stocks and fears of recession.