Pelé to auc­tion medals

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Pelé, widely seen as the finest foot­ball player of all time, is auc­tion­ing off his en­tire col­lec­tion of awards and mem­o­ra­bilia ac­cu­mu­lated over six decades in the game.

Ex­perts be­lieve the event could be­come the big­gest sports auc­tion ever and fetch up to £5mil­lion.

The Brazil­ian three-time World Cup win­ner and Fifa Player of the Cen­tury is sell­ing ev­ery­thing from his replica of the Jules Rimet Tro­phy to his 1977 North Amer­i­can Soc­cer League cham­pi­onship ring.

More than 2,000 items will go un­der the ham­mer from 7-9 June, cov­er­ing the years from when Pelé turned pro­fes­sional at 15 with San­tos FC in 1956 to be­ing named as the club’s life­time global am­bas­sador in 2014.

The auc­tion, han­dled by Bev­erly Hills­based Julien’s Auc­tions, will take place in Lon­don over three days and is ex­pected to at­tract bids from around the world.

Martin Nolan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Julien’s Auc­tions, said it would be a “his­toric” sale, prob­a­bly the “big­gest sports auc­tion ever.

He added: “It is just phe­nom­e­nal to see such a vast col­lec­tion from one man in one room.”

Nolan said the lots could at­tract be­tween £1.5m and £3m, al­though it could reach as high as £5m.

The copy of the Jules Rimet Tro­phy, the orig­i­nal World Cup, is the most ex­pen­sive lot, with an es­ti­mate of £280,000 to £410,000.

Pelé’s three World Cup win­ners’ medals are ex­pected to net up to £140,000 each, while the ball with which he scored his 1,000th goal is pre­dicted to gain £40,000.

Those with a tighter purse can snap up lots such as the Brazil­ian num­ber 10 shirt Pelé wore at a match to mark his 50th birth­day in Mi­lan, in 1990 — es­ti­mated to fetch be­tween £1,400 and £2,800 — with other items such as old pass­ports and li­cences also up for sale..

Ex­plain­ing the sale, Nolan said: “He’s 75 now and this is his legacy, and he wants to see these items all over the world in mu­se­ums and in the hands of peo­ple who are go­ing to cher­ish them and love them and ap­pre­ci­ate them for many, many years to come.”

Pelé said: “Hav­ing do­nated a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of my col­lec­tion to the city of San­tos, I have de­cided to al­low fans and col­lec­tors to own a piece of my his­tory as well.

“I hope they trea­sure these arte­facts and share my story with their chil­dren and gen­er­a­tions to come.

“I will also be do­nat­ing a por­tion of the pro­ceeds from the auc­tion to Pequeno Principe, the largest pae­di­atric hos­pi­tal in Brazil.”

De­spite hang­ing up his boots al­most 40 years ago, Pelé re­mains the game’s great­est hero. Born Ed­son Arantes do Nasci­mento in Tres Co­ra­coes in Oc­to­ber 1940, Pelé grew up in poverty. He was orig­i­nally ap­pren­ticed to be a shoe­maker but de­vel­oped a tal­ent for foot­ball by kick­ing a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets.

At 17, he ef­fec­tively won the 1958 World Cup for Brazil with a hat-trick in the semi­fi­nal against France and two goals in the fi­nal against the host na­tion, Swe­den.

He was also in the squad that tri­umphed in 1962 and scored again in the 1970 fi­nal.

Af­ter al­most 20 years with San­tos, Pelé moved to New York Cos­mos in 1975, be­com­ing the face of US foot­ball.

His life story was told in a re­cent biopic, Birth of a Leg­end. —

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