In brief: From working Apple-1 computers to Steve Jobs' application form, rare items related to the biggest company in the world tend to fetch a large amount at auction. The latest of these vintage products could be one of the rarest of them all: a pair of Apple sneakers that are selling for $50,000.
Auction house Sotheby's is selling the sneakers for the exceedingly high price due to their classification as "ultra-rare." They feature the original Apple logo on the tongue and side of the size 10.5 white shoes, along with an air-cushioned heel and an alternative pair of red laces. They're also said to be in good condition apart from the normal aging signs such as yellowing around the midsoles and glue, as well as some light marks on the toe boxes.
The history of the sneakers isn't totally clear. They are believed to have been custom-made for employees in the late '80s or early '90s and were a one-time giveaway at a National Sales Conference in the mid-'90s.
Apple's history of branded apparel isn't common knowledge these days, but it started a clothing and accessories range via mail-order catalogs called the Apple Collection in 1985. More than 22,000 consumers purchased items from the brand in its launch year.
Sotheby's notes that for the products outside of Apple's zone of expertise, it would partner with leading brands such as Lamy, Honda and Braun to apply the Apple branding to various white label products.
This isn't the first pair of expensive Apple sneakers to go to auction, though there have only been a couple of other examples. The Omega Sports Apple Computer Sneakers received 20 bids after being listed on Heritage Auction House in 2020, eventually selling for $9,687. There was also a pair found at a garage sale in Palo Alto in 2016 that was listed at the same auction house with a starting bid of $30,000.
"We believe they [the Palo Alto sneakers] were a pair of prototype sneakers made for Apple in the late 1980s or early 1990s," Leon Benrimon, Heritage Auction's director of modern and contemporary art, told Esquire in 2018 (via The Guardian).
"We believe there were only two pairs made, and the other pair was from the Apple archives. The pair we have are what we believe is the only known private pair."
People are always willing to pay good money to own part of Apple's history. A first-generation iPhone sold for a record $63,656 in February, while a prototype Apple-1 computer used by Steve Jobs auctioned for almost $700,000 last year. Jobs' 1973 application form, meanwhile, went for $343,000.