Pele is auctioning a treasure trove of memorabilia from his personal collection, ranging from his three World Cup winner’s medals to a commemorative silver bowl from the board of Plymouth Argyle.
The star item is a replica of the Jules Rimet trophy presented to the Brazilian legend after his third World Cup triumph, in Mexico in 1970, which is expected to fetch up to £420,000.
Pele, the only player to win the World Cup three times, is selling items collected during this six decades in the game to raise money for charity as well as to allow ‘fans and collectors to own a piece of my history’.
More than 2000 items will go under the hammer next week in London with auctioneer Julien’s expecting the collectables to raise between £2.5million and £3.5m.
His individual medals from the tournaments in Mexico, Chile in 1962 and Sweden in 1958 are each expected to command more than £100,000. Also up for sale is the ball with which he scored his 1,000th goal, a penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama in Rio’s Maracana Stadium in November 1969.
One lot expected to attract particular interest is the pair of boots Pele wore in the 1981 film Escape To Victory, in which he starred with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Sir Bobby Moore, which are expected to make up to £5,500.
There are a number of non-football items for sale, which include things such as elaborate crowns and ceremonial daggers, model ships and jet fighters, to more prosaic clocks, dishes, and freedom-of-the-city keys from various municipalities.
Personal documents, such as old passports, driving licences and a certificate of military service in the Sixth Group of the Motorized Coast Artillery in Santos will also be up for auction.
There is a letter from Prince Charles offering thanks to Pele for appearing in a film about rainforests and a football signed by Rod Stewart with the message: ‘Wish you were Scottish.’ Another ball is from the FA Cup final in 2000 and was apparently used by Pele to perform the ceremonial ‘last kick’ at the old Wembley Stadium. The Plymouth bowl was presented after the team from Devon beat Santos 3-2 in 1973.
More than 2,000 items will be included in the auction and they afford a glimpse into the life of the man recognised by many as the world’s greatest ever footballer.
Some are plain weird. Lot 1414 is a human tooth featuring a miniature portrait of Brazilian revolutionary Tiradentes.
Explaining the reason for the sale, Pele, 75, 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.
‘It takes a lot to properly care for all these items. I felt I could do much more good by sharing them with the world as well as helping many causes that are important to me.
‘I will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the auction to Pequeno Principe, the largest paediatric hospital in Brazil.’
A 1978 passport document issued by the Public Secretary of State to Pele in the name Edson Arantes do Nascimento. The expiration date is 6/7/78
Pele, is considered the most influential footballer of all time and in 1999 was named the FIFA Player of the Century.
But since he stopped playing, he has resorted to sometimes surprising methods to make money – a decade ago, he was hired by the makers of Viagra to head a campaign about male impotence.
As well as allowing fans to own part of his history, Pele has said a proportion of money raised will go to Brazil’s largest children’s hospital, the Pequeno Principe paediatric, which he supports.
A public exhibition of Pele: The Collection opens at Mall Galleries, London on Wednesday. The three-day auction, presented by California-based Julien’s Auctions, starts on Tuesday.
A white sash presented to Pele commemorating Santos FC’s 1961 championship will be sold at auction