C Cultura

Pelé's shirt sets record

The shirt worn by Pelé during the 1970 World Cup Final fetched a record £157,750 when it was auctioned at Christie's on March 26, 2002.


The London auction house had expected that the famous yellow 10 jersey Pelé wore in Brazil's 4-1 triumph over Italy might fetch between £30,000 and £50,000, but a flurry of late bids pushed the asking price far beyond any previous figure.


The anonymous telephone bid far exceeded the previous record for Sir Geoff Hurst's 1966 World Cup winner's shirt which went for £91,750 in September 2000.  It also surpassed the £124,750 paid for Gordon Banks' winning medal from the 1996 final in March 2001.


"As Pele was such a fantastic player and is a globally recognised name we were hoping that it might attract significant interest," said Christie's spokesman Rik Pike.  "But the final figure surpassed our wildest dreams.  It just shows the strength of the football memorabilia market."


The grass-stained shirt was put up on auction by Roberto Rosato, one of the hapless Italian defenders who tried to keep the Brazilian virtuoso at bay in a match remembered as much for Pele's performance as for the sublime football played by his team.

 

There were doubts from the Brazilian media about the authenticity of the jersey, after the former Brazilian national coach, Mario Zagallo told a newspaper that he possessed Pele's first-half shirt and that the then fitness trainer Admilo Chirol had Pele's second-half shirt.  Christie's dismissed such speculation.  "We are 100% certain that we have the shirt Pelé finished the game in", said Pike.  "It comes with a signed declaration from Rosato and our football expert David Convery conducted extensive tests, examined video footage and even the stains on the shirt, to be sure of its authenticity."


Film of the 1970 final shows Rosata running half the length of the pitch at the final whistle to swap shirts with the footballing legend; a 50-metre dash that proved to be quite a lucrative one.

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