Maradona shirt

Maradona 1986 shirt – £6m at Sotheby’s.

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‘Hand of God’ shirt nets £6m result

Diego Maradona’s 1986 World Cup shirt worn in the quarterfinal against England set a record for any piece of sporting memorabilia when it took £6m at Sotheby’s.

With premium added, the price was £7.14m. Sotheby’s told ATG that the buyer was anonymous.

The shirt came to auction from the collection of England midfielder Steve Hodge – who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona during the ‘Hand of God’ play.

After the final whistle, Maradona and Hodge swapped shirts and the former Tottenham and Nottingham Forest midfielder kept it in his collection before loaning it to the National Football Museum over the last 20 years.

Estimated at £4m-6m at the auction on May 4, the shirt drew a number of bidders who took it beyond the previous high: the $7.5m (£5.73m) for the original 1892 autograph manuscript of the Olympic Manifesto which sold at Sotheby’s in December 2019.

Maradona’s number 10 shirt also broke a string of other records. The previous auction record for a sporting shirt was held by a Babe Ruth Yankees jersey from 1928-30 that sold for £4.7m (£3.73m), or $5.64m including premium, at Hunt Auctions in June 2019.

The latest sum also dramatically raised the bar for any football shirt, the previous high being the £140,000 (£157,750 with premium) for Pelé’s 1970 World Cup final shirt which sold at Christie’s South Kensington in 2002.

Sworders supports gallery revamp

Eric Ravilious watercolour

Among the pictures featured in the new Fry Art Gallery exhibitions is this Eric Ravilious watercolour, Two Women Sitting in a Garden.

Image: Fry Art Gallery

The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, Essex, has undergone a major refurbishment and one of the first shows is being supported by local auction house Sworders.

It has created a new exhibition space, office, art store, kitchen and accessible entrance and facilities. Fundraising of £573,000 paid for the works which has enabled the gallery to extend its opening hours to the public.

The gallery, which was founded in 1987, reopened on May 8 with two exhibitions.

Sworders, based nearby in Stansted Mountfitchet, is sponsoring a show which has been created to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the gallery’s collection over its 37 years. Containing more than 3000 items, it celebrates the particular strength of the Great Bardfield artists Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, William Rothenstein and John Aldridge, and extends to Keith Vaughan and Michael Ayrton among others.

The other exhibition focuses on the avant-garde female artist Isabel Rawsthorne (1912-92).

Sotheby’s sprouts new Brussels base

Sotheby’s has launched a new gallery and office space in Brussels. It first opened in the Belgian capital 45 years ago.

The move to 251 Avenue Louise will double its exhibition space to 1300 sq m and the first show in the new venue runs until May 13. The location will be shared with Sotheby’s International Realty.

Sotheby’s said in the past 10 years the number of Belgian buyers and bidders at the firm’s sales worldwide has more than doubled.

Sportingold looks for new owner

Sportingold is up for sale. The auction house, focused on sports memorabilia, has been operating for the past 20 years. It has asked interested parties to get in touch via

Princeton acquires coins and painting

Rebecca Solomon picture

A Young Teacher, 1861, by Rebecca Solomon, £240,000 at Sotheby’s.

Princeton University purchase, Surdna Fund

A work by Rebecca Solomon (1832-86) offered at Sotheby’s was bought by The Princeton University Art Museum.

A Young Teacher (1861) depicts a girl teaching her family’s servant how to read. The model for the servant was Fanny Eaton (1835-1924), the Jamaican-born artist’s model known for sitting for Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood artists.

Eaton moved with her mother, a former slave, to England when she was a teenager. She married a cab driver and they had 10 children and she worked as a model and domestic servant in London.

Princeton paid a hammer price of £240,000 at the March 23 (Women) Artists sale in London (£302,400 including buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. The price was almost 10 times more than any work by the artist that had sold at auction previously, according to Artprice.

The museum described the picture as a “rare and important example of the work of the first professional Jewish woman artist in Britain”.

Solomon was one of three siblings from a well-to-do Jewish family in London who all became artists. She worked with her older brother Abraham and younger brother Simeon Solomon (1840-1905) was also associated with the Pre-Raphaelites.

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The price paid at a Texas second-hand shop in 2018 for a bust that turned out to be a 1st century marble sculpture looted from Germany, probably during the Second World War. It was identified on being consigned to Sotheby’s and will be repatriated to Bavaria after going on view at the San Antonio Museum of Art.