One week after Sotheby’s announced it was auctioning Kanye West’s 2008 ‘Grammy Worn’ Nike Air Yeezy Sample sneakers, the kicks were finally purchased on April 26 via private sale for $1.6 million, 60% more than was originally predicted by the auction house’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, Brahm Wachter. Before that moment, the most expensive sneakers ever bought were Michael Jordan’s 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1 High shoes, sold by British auction company Christie’s in August of last year.
“We are thrilled with the result, which has nearly tripled the highest price on record,” Wachter said. “The sale speaks volumes of Kanye’s legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time, and of the Yeezy franchise he has built which has become an industry titan. Furthermore, it builds on the recent growth in Sotheby’s sneakers, which is now offered across our Buy-Now marketplace, auction, and private sales.”
The buyer of Ye’s former footwear turned out to be retired NFL safety Gerome Sapp, CEO, and owner of a digital platform called RARES. Sapp’s application seeks to capitalize on the booming sneaker resale market and the democratization of the alternatives market by offering fractional shares of the shoes to the public. Sapp explained his venture with the following March 17 caption on his personal IG page: “…[D]uring the quarantine, when I had nothing but time on my hands, I figured why not combine my two passions (The Stock Market & Sneakers) and turn it into a unique business that provided millions of people access to rare, high priced sneakers via ‘fractional ownership.’”
Per Sapp’s site, access to shares of the Yeezy 1 Prototypes will be made available to the general public on June 16. Other shoes that RARES plans to make available for the purchase of shares include a collection of sneakers from Kobe Bryant and His Airness called “G.O.A.T.S.” as well as an unworn pair of 1985 Air Jordan OG 1 sneakers (size 10).
For comparison, StockX is currently selling a size 9 version of the OG 1 with a 52-week high bid of $19K. Therefore, RARES’ model may serve as a lower “barrier to entry” for playing in the sneaker resale marketplace. New York-based investment firm Cowen Inc. has projected the sneaker resale market to achieve $6 billion annually by 2025 yet also expects that number to actually quintuple by the decade’s end. However, time will reveal whether Sapp’s platform is a real pioneer.
“…We buy the sneaker, you buy the shares in that sneaker via an IPO on the RARES platform,” Sapp continued to explain in his post. “If the value of the sneaker rises, so does the value of the shares you own in that sneaker. Just like a traditional stock. Also, RARES is regulated by the SEC! So you can potentially make money off of the appreciation of a sneaker without ever having to physically own the sneaker… Just buy shares in the sneaker on the (https://rares.io) platform….”
Get a better look at the kicks below.