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Barron’s: From Kobe to Gretzky to Ali to Prefontaine: Sotheby’s puts coveted artifacts of sporting history on the auction block Sept. 6


An early pair of Nike Oregon shoes worn by U.S. distance-running legend Steve Prefontaine — shown in a 1972 race, wearing Adidas footwear — is estimated to fetch as much as $250,000.

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Sotheby’s announced highlights from “Invictus Part II,” an upcoming online auction of 16 “rare and prized” sports collectibles, including a Los Angeles Lakers jersey worn by the late Kobe Bryant in his final NBA season opener, poised to sell for $120,000-$140,000.

See: How the late NBA star Kobe Bryant built his $600 million fortune — and who is in charge of it now?

Bidding is open Sept. 6-14 for sneakers, equipment, and other artifacts linked to athletes who carved out legendary careers while elevating their sports of baseball, basketball, football, tennis, boxing, hockey, and running. 

In addition to Bryant, the all-star squad includes Wayne Gretzky, Dennis Rodman, Rafael Nadal, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Peyton Manning, Jackie Robinson and LeBron James.

A highlight is a pair of sneakers owned and worn by long-distance-running phenom Steve Prefontaine. His green and yellow Nike Oregon waffle sneakers are expected to go off the block for $150,000-$250,000. They’re “the first pair of Pre’s shoes to ever be publicly sold,” according to Sotheby’s.

A hockey stick that Gretzky used in the final game of his career is estimated to sell for $125,000-$200,000, while a signed tennis racket Roger Federer swung in the 2011 French Open finals match has an estimate of $60,000-$80,000. A signed baseball cap worn by Alex Rodriguez in the 2009 World Series championship-clinching game could bring in $40,000-$60,000.

A game jersey worn by Kobe Bryant — here addressing fans following his final game as a Los Angeles Laker in 2016 — in the opener of his last NBA season is estimated to sell for as much as $140,000.

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The items will all be up for bid at Sotheby’s website alongside Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBC Finals Game 1 jersey from the renowned “Last Dance” season. The item was announced previously and is estimated to collect $3 million–$5 million.

Don’t miss: Michael Jordan jersey from NBA Finals of his ‘magnum opus’ season to be auctioned in September

The sky-high sum exemplifies the fact that the sports auction market is enjoying “a boom,” according to Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s. “Over the past two years, even through the pandemic, it hasn’t slowed.”

Thanks to photo matching technology one can pinpoint when sports relics were worn and used, Wachter says. “There’s been an increased desire among some of the biggest collectors to acquire moments in time.”

Read on: Kobe Bryant’s family agrees to new partnership with Nike to produce shoes, clothing

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