inside the huge supreme auction happening right now

i-D talks to the collector who is selling 1,300 of the brand's coveted items, from nunchucks to a pinball machine.

by Brittany Natale
24 May 2019, 5:23pm

The Supreme Vault 1998-2018 Exhibition.Image from Sotheby's Press Office HK.

US-based collector Yukio Takahashi has teamed up with Sotheby’s to auction off his Supreme accessories collection. With 1,300 pieces, the expansive archive is every hypebeasts dream. First introduced to the New York City skateboarding brand in 2004, Takahashi has been collecting Supreme's coveted accessories since 2011. He has amassed an extensive compilation featuring some of the company’s most obscure items — nunchucks, sleeping bags, a domino set, and even a stash Bible that hit the market in 2013 — with some of the objects dating as far back as the late-90s. Larger items are also up for bidding, including a pinball machine, mini-bike, and boxing bag. The collection, titled The Supreme Vault: 1998-2018, will be on view at HART Hall in Hong Kong through May 28, with its online-only auction concluding May 28.

i-D caught up with the avid collector to talk about the art of collecting, some of Supreme’s most surprising releases, and the brand’s evolution through the years.

You have mentioned you went to high school in New York and were fascinated by skate culture. Would you say that skating was your entry point into the world of Supreme?
I was already interested in skateboarding when Tony Hawk landed the 900 in 1999, his first game also came out the same year. My friend that introduced me to Supreme assumed I would like it since I liked skateboarding. He was not wrong.

Image from Sotheby's Press Office HK.

You've been collecting Supreme for awhile now — how do you feel that Supreme and its fans have evolved throughout the years?
I was introduced to the brand in 2004 and I did not begin collecting the accessories until 2011. With more access to the internet, the demographic seems to have become younger. Supreme itself has hardly changed. The webstore is near identical to its launch in 2006. The NY store is just now being remodeled after 25 years. Regardless of the changes in creative directors, its product line still shares a resemblance to its offerings from the early 2000s.

While collecting Supreme did you also collect any other brands, or were you strictly Supreme?
Not really, the only thing I have ever made lists for were Supreme accessories.

You have acquired many different Supreme items through the years. Have any of their releases been particularly surprising or unusual to you?
Just about everything they do that is not an ashtray is unusual. Brass balls were hilarious. Supreme can get away with anything. I am so desensitized by their obscurity at this point that most things do not phase me. It's only when they really go off the deep end that my eyes go wide. Things like the punching bag, mini bike, and pinball machine.

Image from Sotheby's Press Office HK.

Do any of the pieces you have collected have especially interesting backstories of how you acquired them? Have you ever had to drive cross-country for an item? The 69 pin, compass keychains, "fuck em" fobs, and punching bag were the hardest for me to get. I got lucky early on with most of the heavy hitters — basketball, bat, etc. For the guitar I drove to Edison, NJ. The punching bag, I drove to Port Jervis, NY. That's about it for road trips.

Do you have any favorite Supreme collaborations, or are they any Supreme collaborations that you would like to see in the future that have not already been done?
I would like more everyday things like the bike pump, hammer, pens and pencils, and tape measure. A toaster would be nice seeing as I do not own one currently. A nice screwdriver/ratchet set would be great. Soccerball, 12" metal ruler, and something really goofy like a pogo stick.

Will you continue to collect Supreme going forward, or do you plan on moving on to collecting something else?
I will go back and purchase certain Supreme pieces. Currently, I collect Akitas, credit card debt, Glossier accessories, Mark Gonzales toys, and Redbull cans.

Image from Sotheby's Press Office HK.