One Nike Air Jordan I from Michael Jordan's personal collection, as well as a black Wilson baseball glove bearing its owner's moniker stitched across the thumb, are for sale in Dallas-based Heritage Auctions' June 14 Sunday Sports Collectibles Weekly Online Auction.
In the wake of The Last Dance documentary that aired on ESPN, the items should be enough to spark interest among collectors and casual onlookers. Items once owned or worn or touched by Jordan immediately demand widespread attention from collectors and fans as they're set upon the auction block.
This appears to be the very first Jordan baseball glove ever available for sale.
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There is a backstory to this sneaker and this rare mitt. It begins in 1994, when Jordan's wife at the time, Juanita Jordan, could not decide what to buy the man who had everything for his 32nd birthday.
For advice, she turned to a high-end jeweler of her acquaintance, who suggested reproducing some of his most iconic belongings in "precious metal," as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently recounted. The jeweler knew a man in Tel Aviv capable of doing such a thing, by taking items and making detailed molds from the originals.
"One day we received an order by fax to make a shoe and baseball glove in silver," Dan Lavi told the Israeli paper a few weeks ago. "They didn't say who it was for. My father asked them to send a sample, saying he would see what could be done. If it were possible, we'd quote a price, he told the sender."
Days later, a prized 1985 Air Jordan I, from the right foot, size 13.5, and the Wilson mitt were dispatched to Israel. To create the molds and make sure the original items kept their shapes, the glove was filled with permanent epoxy, while material like modeling clay, which could be removed, was inserted into the shoe.
What emerged on the other side were silver replicas so perfect in their detail, from the leather grain to the shoelace patterns, they look almost wearable, were they not so heavy, the shoe alone weighs 10 pounds, or sheathed in thousands of dollars' worth of silver. Only 10 of each were made, as Juanita requested. After that, the molds were destroyed. Only these items, the original sneaker and mitt, remain.
Michael Jordan kept one silver shoe and one silver glove, so the story goes, and disbursed the other pieces to his agent, one of his restaurants, a golf club, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and elsewhere. In time they would scatter to the wind. They cost around $2,000 each to make, and when they do show up for auction, which is rare, they command significantly higher prices.
In February 2019, Heritage Auctions sold one of the silver gloves for $7,200. Six months later, Heritage sold one of the silver sneakers for $20,400.
Now, they come to a Dallas auction house. And in days, they will belong to someone else, 26 years after they were taken from Michael Jordan's closet and replicated down to the last stitch in silver.
"It was a great thrill to hear from the family in Israel that created the incredible silver sculptures and to learn that the original items that were used to create the molds still existed," said Heritage Auctions' Chris Ivy, Sports Auctions Director. "Like most of the world, the owner has been captivated by The Last Dance and decided now was the time to part with these treasures his father gifted to him a quarter-century ago."
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.