Vancouver man’s Supreme T-shirt collection expected to sell for $2 million

A Vancouver man’s one-of-a-kind collection of Supreme T-shirts is expected to sell for millions at auction next month.

James Bogart, 21, bought his first piece from the New York streetwear brand in 2014, when he was just 15. Six years later, Bogart boasts every single T-shirt sporting the brand’s iconic box logo. Bogart’s Box Logo Collection, comprised of 253 pieces released over 26 years and obsessively curated over five, is considered the first complete archive of Supreme tees in existence.

The set contains many items that are almost impossible to find anywhere else, and has been described by Christie’s in New York, the auction house handling the sale, as a “holy grail” for collectors.

“Poised to be the most valuable collection of Supreme material to ever be offered in a single sale,” Christie’s said in a press release. The offering is expected to fetch somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2 million.

“I’ve been doing this non-stop for the last six years, obsessively,” Bogart said. “It obviously started just as a complete passion. I absolutely loved it, I loved everything that the brand stood for. I loved the brand identity. I loved the secrecy behind it. And more than anything, I really loved the hunt.”

The hunt took him all over the world. Most of the pieces were acquired through the secondary market, or from secretive collectors. As a 17-year-old, Bogart flew to London to meet a Supreme buyer with a shirt he’d never seen: a rare, green tee with a red box, released in 1996. Bogart’s friends and fellow collectors didn’t even know it existed: Supreme has never released an official archive. The process of creating one himself, and reaching a consensus with the rest of the community, took years.

They said it couldn’t be done.

“A lot of people who have helped me and contributed towards this collection and sold and traded with me over the years, they told me that this was impossible to do,” Bogart said.

The collection will be sold as one entire lot in a private sale with Christie’s. Bogart was connected to the auction house through Ibrahim Itani, the founder of Plus, the streetwear mecca that opened in Gastown in 2017.

Bogart was the store’s first employee, he said, and Itani has encouraged his obsession all along the way.

From its humble beginnings as a Lower Manhattan skate store in the mid-90s, Supreme has grown into one of the biggest brands in fashion, collaborating with the likes of Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Pieces from those particular drops are, of course, included in this collection, along with eleven special edition tees, thirteen unreleased or sample tees, and seven shirts inspired by 9/11.

The most valuable piece is likely a WTAPS box logo T-shirt from 1999. Printed on Neighborhood T-shirt blanks, this one rare tee alone is valued at over ten thousand dollars.

But the most significant piece, according to Bogart, is an original, 1994 red-on-white Box Logo tee — rumoured to be one of just 30 in existence.

“It was one of four T-shirts they originally released during the store’s first year of being open,” he said. “A red on white box logo tee, sold in the original store at 274 Lafayette Street and released during the brand’s first year of business. It really doesn’t get any more iconic than that.”

Asked if there’s an item in the collection he’s particularly sad to see go, Bogart admitted there were several.

“There’s 253 of them, actually,” he said.

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