In an unexpected turn of events, a volunteer at a Portland homeless shelter stumbled upon a pair of distinctive gold Air Jordan sneakers while sorting through donated clothes earlier this year. Recognizing their uniqueness, the volunteer handed them over to Erin Holcomb, the director of staff ministry at the Portland Rescue Mission.
Upon conducting a Google search, Holcomb discovered that the sneakers closely resembled those worn by director Spike Lee at the 2019 Oscars. Initially skeptical, Holcomb later learned that the shoes were, in fact, one of the limited original pairs produced by Nike in 2019.
Deciding to auction the valuable sneakers for a charitable cause, Holcomb and her team eagerly watched as the bidding soared. The auction, closing at an impressive $50,800, left the Portland Rescue Mission employees elated, as the funds raised will be directed towards supporting the city’s homeless community with essential services like shelter, clothing, and meals.
The mysterious donor of the shoes remains unknown, even to Spike Lee, who confirmed that the shoes did not come from him. Lee, having specially requested gold Air Jordans from designer Tinker Hatfield in 2019, clarified that the donated size 12½ shoes did not align with his usual size of 9½.
The Nike Air Jordan 3 sneakers, discovered in a donation chute at the shelter in April, were initially thought to be potential replicas. Holcomb, after months of uncertainty, sought the expertise of a sneaker consignment store in September. To her surprise, authenticators confirmed the rarity of the shoes, verifying them as genuine Nike originals.
Holcomb declined assistance from the consignment store owner and opted for a global auction through Sotheby’s. The renowned auction house agreed to sell the sneakers in December, with added contributions from designer Tinker Hatfield, who provided an autographed black box and poster.
As the auction unfolded on Monday, December 22, Holcomb and her team witnessed bids climbing from $13,000 to an astounding $50,800. The timing of the auction proved opportune, coinciding with the heightened needs of Portland’s homeless community during the winter season.
While Holcomb expressed her excitement about the impact the funds will have on their charitable initiatives, the identity of the generous donor behind the rare gold Air Jordans remains a mystery. Holcomb remarked, “I am so glad that we were able to leverage them towards serving more people, but we would all love to know the answer to that.”