2023 February Finest Auction

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On December 29, 2022, the world lost the greatest footballer of all time. Pelé passed away at the age of 82, leaving an unparalleled legacy as both sportsman and global humanitarian. The Brazilian legend made his professional and international debut at age 16 and never looked back. Representing his native country four times in the World Cup (1958-70), Pelé remains the only player to hoist FIFA’s most coveted trophy three times. Staying loyal to his beloved fans, he anchored the storied Santos FC in his home country for nearly two decades (1956-74) before spending his last three playing years (1975-77) with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. Though well past his prime, Pelé still dominated into his late 30’s and led the Cosmos to the NASL title in his final season. While the league was short-lived, he had an enormous impact on launching the popularization of soccer in the U.S.

Featured here is the 1978 NASL Championship ring awarded to Pelé following the New York Cosmos’ second straight title. On August 27th the Cosmos beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Soccer Bowl ’78 at Giants Stadium with 74,901 in attendance – still a record for any soccer championship game on North American soil. Upon retiring as a player in October of ‘77, Pelé worked as an executive advisor with the team while also serving as league ambassador to continue to grow the sport throughout the continent.

Made by Balfour, the lovely 10-karat gold ring has an angled face surrounded by "COSMOS NASL CHAMPIONS" in raised lettering with a centered soccer ball in relief set with a full-cut round genuine diamond (approx. ¼ carat). One shank boasts "SOCCER BOWL 78” at top with a depiction of NASL Championship trophy and the game date below. The other shank has "PELE” engraved with a depiction of the Cosmos team crest. The inner band is hallmarked with “10K” and the maker. The elegant ring with an exquisite design weighs 20 grams and comes in size 10¼. Its condition remains nearly pristine with little noticeable wear.

To our knowledge, this is the only 1978 Cosmos NASL Champions ring issued to Pelé and the only Pelé ring known with his name visible on the outer shank. The ’77 Cosmos ring had inferior design with no diamond and his name hidden within the inner band, making this arguably the highest-quality and most coveted Pelé ring in existence. It hails from the renowned Pelé Collection auction in which all items were consigned directly by Pelé in 2016.

1978 Pelé New York Cosmos NASL Championship Ring (10K w/ Diamond) from The Pelé Collection - The Only Known Pelé Ring with Name on Shank!
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