This man paid $9,000 for a pair of Donald Trump sneakers


When Donald J. Trump appeared at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia last weekend to promote a limited-edition line of gold high-top sneakers, there were plenty of boos from the crowd, but none of them coming from Roman Sharf.

Sharf, a watch dealer known for his selection of tangerine-sized Audemars Piguets and Patek Philippes, ended up purchasing an autographed pair of “Never Surrender” sneakers after placing a $9,000 bid in an auction held that day via the Whatnot app. . .

“They’re still new, they smell like glue,” Sharf said Friday morning as he held the shoes up to his face and sniffed them.

Above each ankle was some kind of American flag, composed of red and black lines and a blue square filled with bright stars and stripes. There were T’s engraved on the tongue and T’s on the sides. The former president’s signature appeared in thick black ink on the shiny right toe.

While showing off his award, Sharf stood on the second floor of the small building in Southampton, Pennsylvania, that is the headquarters of his company, Luxury Bazaar. Except for the shell of a 2019 Formula One car that serves as a kind of sculpture, the space resembled a vault.

Behind him was an office filled with vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, old cassette tapes of Jay-Z, Whitney Houston, and 2 Live Crew, among others, and an orange Pelican case containing two dozen watches that he said were worth altogether around 3 million dollars.

Sharf was wearing blue Nike

He ended up in the club because he proudly posted about his Sneaker Con acquisition on his social media channels, where he has hundreds of thousands of followers. Trump later extended a lunch invitation. So Sharf got on a plane and headed to the golf club with his 20-year-old son, Marcus Sharf, who lives in Miami and runs a high-end sneaker and streetwear boutique, HYPMiami.

Mr. Sharf ordered Caesar salad and chicken noodle soup. Trump munched on his signature hamburger and fries. After lunch, Mr. Sharf’s rabbi texted him to ask if they had discussed the situation in Israel, but he was not so lucky.

“It was like talking to friends,” Sharf said. “It was a normal conversation, without an agenda.”

A good number of Sharf’s several hundred thousand followers on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok had a different reaction: They said they were unsubscribing from his feeds as a result of his support for Trump. Some of the online anger was sparked by an article in The Daily Mail about Mr Sharf’s purchase of sneakers that described him as a “Russian oligarch” prone to “MAGA mania”.

Sharf said the criticism didn’t bother him. “I’m on social media,” he said. “I’m used to haters.”

He added that his business was catering to people with money, and many of those people are Republicans who were happy to see him profess his loyalty to Trump. But Sharf had some things he wanted to clarify, including the fact that he is not Russian, but Ukrainian.

He said he was 13 when he came to the United States with his stepmother, older sister and father in 1988, three years before Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union and became an independent nation.

“He had four dollars in his pocket,” Sharf said of his father.

The family moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and lived in a small apartment in one of the buildings operated by Fred Trump. His father found employment in a company that welded store awnings and worked as a waiter on weekends. His stepmother was an accountant.

After high school, from 1993 to 1996, Mr. Sharf served in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Camp Pelham, South Korea, and then moved to Fort Knox in Kentucky, records show.

From there, he spent two years at Pennsylvania State University before heading to the Philadelphia area, where he attended a vocational school for computer programming. She then accepted a job at HealthPartners Inc., an insurance provider. When his annual salary exceeded $50,000, he had enough to pretend that he had wealth.

“I rented a BMW 3 Series and bought a Rolex Datejust for $1,000,” he said. “She entered the room before me.”

Mr. Sharf extended his arm, showing how he used to flaunt his Rolex. The watch he now dangled from his wrist was an antique yellow gold Patek Philippe Nautilus sports watch that retails for 200 times that amount, give or take.

In the late 1990s, I was at Deutsche Bank, working in infrastructure support. Additionally, he began selling watches on eBay. His side hustle took off, and in 2006, he founded Luxury Bazaar. He now has 30 employees and two offices: one in Southampton, Pennsylvania, and the other in Hong Kong. He lives with his wife, Anna Sharf, and his two youngest children in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Sharf said he was strongly opposed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “I don’t even understand his goal,” he said of President Vladimir V. Putin. He added that, in his opinion, Trump would be the “only president” who could end the war if he sat the two sides down and reached an agreement.

“I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and the right to bear arms,” ​​Sharf said. “I also believe in gay marriage and the right to abortion. “Within limits.”

“To me, the whole world is green,” he continued, invoking a saying from his days in the military. “That’s what the army teaches you, because we all wear the same color uniform. What I hate to see is the division. “We are one people under one flag.”

Although his shoes had two. One for each foot.

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