The marathon six-session auction held over three days from June 7-9 at London’s Mall Galleries was conducted by the Los Angeles-based entertainment memorabilia specialists Julien's Auctions (25/20 buyer’s premium) who produced a limited edition catalogue of which 500 box sets were signed by the Brazilian legend and offered at $1000 each with proceeds going to the Children’s hospital, Pequeno Príncipe the largest children's hospital in Brazil.
The vast collection of medals, trophies, awards, novelty items and personal property (there were even 15 of his old passports, one of which made £6000) was consigned by the three-time World Cup winner himself and had never been auctioned before.
At the sale itself, the auctioneers reported bidding from around the globe as the event posted a string of exceptional prices. A top price of £320,000 came for a special replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy which was made for Pelé after the 1970 World Cup.
Estimated at £280,000-420,000, the trophy was knocked down to a bid placed on behalf of the Swiss watch makers Hublot, one of the 75-year-old ex-player’s corporate partners.
An auction record was also set for any football medal as Pelé’s winner’s medal from 1970 World Cup was knocked down at £280,000. Estimated at £70,000-140,000, the price surpassed the previous record – the £220,000 hammer price set by Stanley Matthews's 1953 F.A. Cup Final winner's medal that sold at a Graham Budd auction in November 2014.
The sale also offered the player’s two earlier World Cup medals. His winner’s medal from the 1958 World Cup, where Pelé made his name as a 17-year-old and became the youngest ever World Cup goal scorer at 17 years and 239 days, fetched £160,000, while Pelé’s 1962 World Cup winner's medal made £110,000.
Another major piece of football memorabilia will be offered at Sotheby’s on July 12 where the No.10 football jersey worn by Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final will be offered with a £300,000-500,000 estimate.
Hurst sold his collection at Christie's South Kensington in September 2000 (including his 1966 final shirt for a £80,000 hammer price), but Sotheby’s told ATG that the shirt is now being sold by a private collector.