Pelé's World Cup trophy sells for £395,000 at auction
By Daniel Etchells
A special replica Jules Rimet trophy presented to Pelé has fetched £395,000 ($571,000/€505,000) at an auction of the Brazilian football legend’s personal memorabilia in London.
A special replica Jules Rimet trophy presented to Pelé has fetched £395,000 ($571,000/€505,000) at an auction ©Getty Images
The trophy was made for Pelé after Brazil’s 1970 World Cup triumph, which saw him become the first, and to this day the only, player to win the competition three times following success in 1958 and 1962.
It was the most expensive individual lot at the three-day event, which concluded today and featured more than 2,000 items of personal memorabilia.
Swiss watchmaking giant Hublot made the final bid for an item which had an estimated price tag of between £281,000 ($406,000/€359,000) and £450,000 ($651,000/€575,000).
Two of Pelé’s three World Cup winners’ medals also went under the hammer, selling for a collective £340,000 ($492,000/€435,000).
The forward's medal from his first World Cup victory in 1958 was sold for £200,000 ($290,000/€255,000), while the other from his 1962 World Cup success fetched £140,000 ($203,000/€179,000).
Los Angeles-based Julien's Auctions was chosen to handle the sale, which included personal items such as old passports and driving licences.
A proportion of the money raised will go the Pequeno Principe paediatric hospital in Brazil, which Pelé supports.
"We are very pleased with the result of the cup," Darren Julien, chief executive of Julien's Auctions, told AFP.
The auction featured more than 2,000 items of Pelé's personal memorabilia ©Getty Images
Also auctioned were a pair of black football boots worn by Pelé in the 1981 film Escape to Victory, going for £8,025 ($11,610/€10,250).
The film is about Allied prisoners of war who are interned in a German prison camp during the Second World War who play an exhibition football match against a German team.
Now 75, Pelé, who has been in hospital for back, hip and prostate surgery over the past year, wanted to sell various unique football items.
There has been speculation that the decision was made for financial or health reasons, but Dan Nelles, a sports specialist at Julien's, told the BBC: "There are many reasons, there are clearly some personal ones that he alone knows about."
Pelé holds the record as the youngest player ever to play in, and score in, a World Cup final and also holds the Guinness World Record for goals scored in a career with 1,283.
Both he and Argentinean legend Diego Maradona were joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award with the former winning it based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches, and the latter based on an Internet poll.
With club side Santos, Pelé twice won the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup.
For the 1975 season, he came out of semi-retirement to sign for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.
Though well past his prime at that point, Pelé is credited with significantly increasing public awareness and interest of the sport in the United States.