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Market Update: Always look below the radar

Market Update: Always look below the radar

Market Update: Always look below the radar

Hi fellow collector

Former England footballer Steve Hodge called his autobiography 'The Man with Maradona's Shirt'.

He swapped shirts with Maradona after the infamous 1986 World Cup 'Hand of God' match.

He refused every offer to sell it for 35 years.

But on Wednesday it finally hit the auction block at Sothebys.

And from now on he'll now be known as 'The Man who Sold Maradona's Shirt – for £7.1 million'.

That's a new world record for any piece of sports memorabilia.

Now Maradona is an icon, and his shirt is historically important. So it deservedly grabbed all the headlines.

But it also meant that another remarkable sale went under the radar.

One that's perhaps even more significant for collectors.

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This Lionel Messi Barcelona shirt sold at Goldin Auctions on May 1 for $450,000. (Image: Goldin Auctions)

In my auction preview, I spoke about how the Maradona shirt could elevate the entire football memorabilia market to a new level.

So rewind a few days to May 1.

The Hand of God shirt had made global headlines. And it had already reached its reserve of $4 million. It was a guaranteed record-breaker.

Meanwhile, another special football shirt hit the auction block in the US.

This one worn by the most iconic player in the modern game: Lionel Messi. Another Argentinian genius with magic in his boots.

Until now the highest prices were reserved for World Cup-worn shirts.

And the record price for any football shirt had stood for 20 years.

It was the famous yellow Brazil shirt worn by Pele in the 1970 World Cup final. And in 2002 it sold for £157,750 ($220,850).

But Messi's jersey wasn't worn at a World Cup. He wore it it a Spanish league match in 2017.

Admittedly the game was the 'El Clásico', the much-hyped match-up between fierce rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.

And during the game, Messi scored a late winning goal – the 500th goal of his career.

But even so, nobody expected it to sell for $450,000.That's an astounding price for a club football shirt, which are far less rare than international shirts.

It more than doubled the price of Pele's historic Brazil shirt.

(Although in this case that record lasted for 3 days, and not 20 years.)

And for me, it's this sale that points to where the football memorabilia market is heading in the next few years.

There will never be another shirt like Maradona's World Cup 'Hand of God' jersey. In terms of its history and importance, it's completely unique.

But there will be others to match Messi's 'El Clásico' shirt.

And now the market has set a precedent. It shows the new generation of global collectors is willing to pay serious money for football memorabilia.

Figures most would only have dreamed about 5 or 10 years ago.

So expect to see a lot more six-figure shirt sales as the market adjusts to this new level of interest.

And if you have a few pieces of historic football memorabilia in your own collection, you could well be onto a winner.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Paul Fraser,

Chairman, Just Collecting.

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