2023 February Finest Auction


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Billed as "the definitive work on the Athlete of the Century,” this exquisite limited-edition book entitled 1283 chronicles the monumental life of Pelé over 500 glorious pages. Packed with never-before published photographs and hundreds of written excerpts from a comprehensive team of researchers, journalists and designers, Brazilian luxury publisher Toriba Publica produced exactly 1,283 copies – the number of goals Pelé scored during his legendary football career.

The hefty tome weighs 15 kg (33 lbs.) with dimensions of 14½” x 19” x 3½” and comes beautifully packaged, slotting perfectly within a classy, cream-colored presentation case (“1282” embossed on top) which fits in a “PELÉ” branded white box. Gorgeous b&w and color images capture some of Pelé’s greatest moments and triumphs as a footballer, man, father, and national hero, from his childhood days on the pitch to his stardom with Santos FC, through his international and World Cup conquests to his important ambassadorships later in life. There are four separate fold-out sections each with a four-panel photograph that opens up to a width of 55” – most notably a Pelé bicycle kick section that he can be seen opening himself in this clip:

While 1,283 books were printed, each of which is autographed a few pages in by Pelé himself, only 200 are the “luxury edition” that includes a Pelé signed Heart of the King 14” x 18” print as well. (In a 1971 Brazil vs. Yugoslavia match, a heart-shaped patch of sweat serendipitously appeared on the football god’s national team shirt. The photographer, Luis Paulo Machado, who captured that iconic moment on camera has also signed each of the 200 LE prints for good measure. The luxury editions sold for $2,600 in 2013, while the other 1,083 regular editions went for $1,700 each.

This one is number "82/200" of the luxury edition and it presents in immaculate condition. In fact, the consignor opened it for the first time in our office. It still had the shipping labels from when he bought and ordered it from Brazil almost ten years ago. In our 40-year history as a company, we have never come across any book as impressive as 1283. Amazingly, we could find no instance of any edition (luxury or regular) offered publicly in the secondary market, making this a huge opportunity for soccer collectors and Pelé fans alike.

The man behind the ambitious project, Brazilian venture capitalist Pedro Sirotsky, selected Dubai, Brazil, New York, London and China as the launch sites for the book’s November 2013 release. Nearly all copies were pre-ordered and sold within the first few months. Sirotsky described how wholeheartedly involved Pelé was in creating such an incredible piece of biographical history.

Pele was fundamental in working on the book for 18 months. I spent many afternoons with him in his apartment in Sao Paulo speaking about stories and showing him photos. He was absolutely committed to the project. He said it was the most important project in terms of a book in his life. He’s also signed each book one by one — there’s no printed signature. When he first saw the book, he said: ‘I’ve never had in my life a project like that.’ He was emotionally happy and cried many times observing pictures and pages in the book.

Sirotsky was amazed by the humility and down-to-earth nature of Pelé. “He still sees himself as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, an ordinary citizen. He still says thanks to God that he has been chosen as one of the most important personalities in the world. He’s a very simple guy and doesn’t behave like a celebrity.

For more information on this magnificent book:


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