The Field

Time on one’s hands

HE auction world rarely fails to amaze, delight and, on occasion, leave me aghast. Exhibit one, for the prosecution: a pair of used Nike trainers. Not any old trainers, I concede, but in my world view I see trainers as sports shoes made of rubber and leather that, when they wear out and honk badly enough, which they inevitably do if you use them in the manner intended, best belong in the rubbish bin. But not these ones, used though they are. ‘Game worn’ is the inventive term of art used by Sotheby’s, which only added to their value as Michael Jordan (a very tall and, evidently, large-footed American basketball player for those of you who are not ‘up’ on modern US sporting culture) wore them on the professional circuit in 1985. And then signed them before parting with them. They came up for sale in New York on 17 May with a hefty-sounding estimate, at least for a pair of old

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