SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Grey Flannel Auctions is accustomed to handling elite game-used sports memorabilia, but nothing seems to generate more interest these days than a pair of Michael Jordan game-worn sneakers. That’s the opinion of Michael Russek, Director of Operations at Scottsdale, Arizona-based Grey Flannel Auctions.
“We were fortunate to receive a consignment of dual-autographed Michael Jordan sneakers for our current auction that closes on June 26th, and there was no question but that it should be the sale’s opening lot. Jordan 1’s are the most popular sneakers on the planet, and the provenance accompanying this pair is impeccable,” Russek said.
Describing the shoes’ condition as “unimprovable,” Russek explained that they were worn in 1984-85, when Jordan was an NBA rookie. “They were a gift from Jordan to his favorite photographer, Robert Crawford, whom he knew from his days on the hardcourt at the University of North Carolina. After Jordan was drafted by the Bulls and left UNC, he was thrilled to see Crawford on the road again one night after a game against the Indiana Pacers. That’s where Jordan gifted him with the iconic ‘Chicago’ colorway shoes right off his feet. These come directly from Crawford and are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from him, attesting to their history.” With 2 1/2 weeks of bidding still ahead, the sneakers have already been bid up to $117,900.
Apparel worn by baseball legends is also red-hot in the marketplace, especially if connected to significant events or seasons, Russek said. “We have a 1943 World Series game-used and photo-matched road uniform that Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial wore during his National League MVP season. During that year, Musial won his first of three MVP awards, batting .357 with 48 doubles, 20 triples and 220 hits overall in just his second full season. This uniform represents so much of why Musial is remembered as one of the all-time greats. Collectors recognize that. The current high bid on it is $88,000.”
Other important lots in the auction include a photo-matched jersey that Detroit Lions superstar Barry Sanders wore on October 14, 1990 during his spectacular 225-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Kansas City Chiefs — current bid: $19,489 — and a 2015 game-used and autographed alternate jersey that has been fully authenticated and photo-matched to nine home runs and 42 total hits by the electrifying LA Angels outfielder Mike Trout, current bid: $21,438. A 1970 flannel home jersey game-used by two-time MVP and perhaps best catcher in major league history, Johnny Bench, currently stands at $55,000.
View additional lots online at www.greyflannelauctions.com.