2022 FALL PREMIER AUCTION

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Born into extreme poverty, Brazilian football legend Pelé was able to turn his life around through his sensational ability on the pitch from a very young age. He signed his first professional soccer contract in 1956 at the age of 15 with famed Brazilian club, Santos F.C. The following year, at age 16, he would join the Brazil National Team. During his prolific international career, Pelé won three FIFA World Cup titles (1958, 1962 and 1970), the only player ever to do so. He is the all-time leading scorer for Brazil with 77 career goals in 91 caps and remains the G.O.A.T. among most soccer pundits.

As far as his professional career, Pelé stayed loyal to his homeland and the club that signed him as a teenager, playing for Santos until 1974 and finishing with an astonishing 618 goals in 636 games. Os Santásticos ("The Santastics") are still regarded as one of, if not, the greatest club teams of all time, winning a mind-blowing 24 titles during the 1960's including five consecutive Brasileirões (Brazilian professional league titles).

Presented here is a Pelé match-worn Santos jersey dating to 1967-68 when he was still in his prime for both club and country. The white collared shirt with ribbed elastic sleeves is made of 100% cotton and tagged behind the collar by apparel manufacturer Heringol of São Paulo. The jersey displays heavy wear with significant sweat staining and moderate spot soiling throughout. The “S.F.C.” team crest patch is sewn on the left chest and the iconic No. “10” that Pelé made famous is sewn on the back, each in black having faded from age. A 1" upper section of the ‘0’ has started to separate from the fabric due to excessive wear and aging.

The provenance of this shirt makes it extra special. It was gifted by Pelé to fellow Brazilian football star Paulo Cesar Lima, better known as Caju, who competed against his idol in the Campeonato Série A (Brazil's pro league) and played with Pelé' on the Brazil National Team including their triumphant 1970 World Cup squad. The attacking midfielder was a member of Seleção Canarinho for over a decade (1967-77), scoring 10 goals in 57 caps. Caju has signed a letter of provenance in Portuguese for the jersey. In addition, MEARS has authenticated the shirt and verified its size and specs as being consistent with Santos F.C. jerseys from that period. This is easily one of the finest Pelé Santos exemplars you will find in the hobby!

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