2023 February Finest Auction

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Born into poverty in Brazil’s southern state of Minas Gerais, Pelé was able to turn his life around through his sensational ability on the pitch. He signed his first professional contract in 1956 at the age of 15 with prestigious Brazilian club, Santos FC. The following year, he made his first appearance with the Brazil National Team at age 16, During his prolific international career, Pelé won three FIFA World Cup titles (1958, 1962 and 1970) – the only player ever to do so for his home country. He is the Brazil’s all-time leading scorer in international competition with 77 goals in 91 caps. 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. The G.O.A.T. of the world’s most popular sport passed away on December 29, 2022, at the age of 82, but his memorable smile and glowing spirit will live on forever.

Featured here is a Pelé match-worn Santos FC jersey dating to 1972 when he was nearing the end of his long reign with the club. The white shirt made of 100% cotton is properly tagged behind the collar by apparel manufacturer Athleta of São Paulo and displays moderate wear with spot soiling and signs of stretching to the fabric, especially at the seams. The black and white “S.F.C.” team crest patch with two yellow stars is sewn on the left chest and the iconic No. “10” that Pelé made famous is sewn on the back in black. With a crew-neck collar and ribbed sleeve ends, this is a classic style that remains in terrific condition.

This jersey was originally sourced from José Maria Rodrigues Alves, better known as Zé Maria, who played on the Brazil National Team (1968-78) alongside Pelé in the 1970 World Cup and competed against him in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brazil’s top professional league) as a member of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. Comes with a letter of provenance from Zé Maria as well as a letter from MEARS authenticating the jersey and verifying its size, specs, and style as being consistent with Pelé Santos match shirts from the 1972 season.

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