When a pair of sneakers sells for $52,500, you know the collecting industry is changing.

Heritage Auctions

Spotting a major shift of focus in younger collectors, Heritage Auctions has adapted, big time. Catering to the cohorts’ changing tastes and interests, the Dallas-based auctioneer created a new selling category touted as “The Future is Now: Collectible Sneakers, Urban Art and Objects.”

WHAT: Spotting a major shift of focus in younger collectors, Heritage Auctions has adapted, big time. The Dallas-based firm created a new selling category touted as “The Future is Now: Collectible Sneakers, Urban Art and Objects.”

The first sale offered art by Damien Hirst, Terry Richardson, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and others. A pair of Michael Jordan game-worn (and signed) Bulls sneakers circa 1992-93 sold for $9,375. A circa 2008 limited edition Louis Vuitton handbag painted in camouflage by Takashi Murakami brought $3,750.

MORE: The sale was for young, well-heeled collectors based mainly on the coasts. Overseas bidders, especially those from China, Japan and the Pacific Rim, are a major factor too. Interest in the top lot, a pair of Nike Air Mags (the famous shoe from “Back to the Future”), was so great that the sneakers had more than 52,000 presale online views. They sold for $52,500.

SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: Millennials and target buyers for these goods could not care less about rickety Louis XVI furniture, colonial pewter, Old Masters, Grandma’s 1930s furniture and the like. Ditto for Hallmark anything. They simply do not relate.

HOT TIP: The top lot sneakers (pictured with this column) were untouched deadstock Air Mags, size 11 with original box, a signed number plate, multicolor lights (red, yellow and green) and a charging accessory. They have been vetted by a new ranking service, just as sports cards are graded for authenticity.

BOTTOM LINE: The world of collecting is changing and creating new paradigms. Traditionalists must adapt or be left behind.

Contact Inger Sandal at isandal@tucson.com or 573-4131. On Twitter: @IngerSandal