A set of six jerseys worn by Lionel Messi during Argentina's epic victory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be auctioned in December, Sotheby's announced on Monday, estimating their value at more than $10 million (€9.14 million).
The tunics with the famous blue and white stripes were worn by the "Pulga" during the first halves of the group matches against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, then the 8th against Australia, the quarter-final against the Netherlands, the semi-final against Croatia and the final won 3-3, 4-2 on penalties and at the end of the suspense against Kylian Mbappé's France.
Six shirts worn by the one-and-only Lionel Messi during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are coming to auction at Sotheby's. This is your chance to own a piece of football history. https://t.co/RIVKdGhBFz pic.twitter.com/19N0rvSMcg
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) November 20, 2023
With this "priceless" lot, sold online from November 30 to December 14, and displayed to the public at the same time at Sotheby's New York headquarters, the company hopes for a sale of "more than $10 million," which would make it "the most valuable collection of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction," according to a statement from Sotheby's.
For comparison, the most expensive jersey sold at auction, the one worn by American basketball legend Michael Jordan during the finals of his last NBA title with the Chicago Bulls in 1998, went for $10.1 million in September 2022.
Jerseys of Babe Ruth, the American baseball legend, Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star who tragically died, or Diego Maradona, the market for collectibles is attracting more and more buyers and auction houses such as Sotheby's have launched themselves into this niche to diversify and give themselves a facelift.
As a testament to this craze, Messi's jerseys are consigned by the American company AC Momento, which operates a mobile app for sports fans and "partners with top athletes to help them manage their collections of memorabilia worn during matches," says Sotheby's.
Also according to the auction house, "part of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the UNICAS project, led by the Sant Joan de Déu Children's Hospital (SJD) in Barcelona with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, in order to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases".