In what’s being called perhaps the biggest sports auction in history, Brazilian soccer legend Pele is auctioning off his collection of memorabilia and awards collected over more than five decades.
The three-day auction of more than 2,000 items started Tuesday in London by the Los Angeles-based Julien’s Auctions and is expected to bring in millions of dollars. Pele said in a statement that a portion of the proceeds are to go to Pequeno Principe, the largest children’s hospital in Brazil.
The sale includes a replica of the original World Cup prize — the Jules Rimet Trophy — as well as his World Cup winner’s medals from 1958, 1962 and 1970. Among other items up for sale are the ball with which Pele scored his 1,000th goal in 1969, the jersey he wore for the New York Cosmos between 1975 and 1977, his 1977 North American Soccer League championship ring and the soccer boots he wore in the 1981 film Escape to Victory, in which he co-starred with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine.
There will be many non-soccer items on the auction block, including old civic awards, driving licenses and correspondence.
The Daily Mail carried Pele’s explanation for the auction:
“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.”
Pele, who is universally known as the greatest soccer player to ever play the game, was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 1940. An old 1978 passport confirming that is up for auction, as well.