The Most Expensive Sports Memorabilia

There are certain non-negotiables that come with being a sports fan that those not obsessed by it in the same way might baulk at.

The constant checking of NFL player props during the offseason, the absolutely need to wear your team’s jersey whenever you go on vacation and, the compulsion to buy anything and everything relating to your team.

Whether that be a tie with your team’s crest on it, a framed photo of that winning touchdown or, in some cases, hugely overpriced sports memorabilia. If you’ve ever found yourself consumed by sports fan mania and spent a fortune on ticket stubs or a signed ball, allow us to make you feel better as we showcase people who’ve spent a whole lot more.

Read on to find out about the five most expensive pieces of sports memorabilia ever…

5. Muhammad Ali’s WBC “Rumble in the Jungle” Belt

On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali took on George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now DR Congo). In the early round of the bout Ali, who was the contender to the throne, looked like he didn’t have enough to beat Foreman – the heavyweight champion was chasing him around the ring and seemingly bullying Ali.

In the later rounds though Ali fought back, winding Foreman before eventually knocking him out and regaining the heavyweight crown. After the bout Ali revealed that his performance in the earlier rounds had been intentional and were part of his “rope-a-dope” strategy.

The belt that Ali won that night was bought by Indianapolis Colts owners Jim Irsay 2 years ago for an eye-watering $6.18 million.

(Muhammad Ali takes back his heavyweight crown with the famous “Rope-a-dope” strategy.)

4. “The Olympic Manifesto” by Pierre de Coubertin

In Europe, the United Kingdom and even here in the United States political parties are busy publishing their plans in preparation of upcoming national elections. What we call a Party Platform here in the USA, the rest of the world calls a manifesto, which is just what French aristocrat Pierre de Coubertin produced in 1892.

However, instead of endorsing a particular political party, his manifesto set out the aims and ambitions of the Olympic Games, which was then seen as an idealist revival of the Olympics from Ancient Greece.

Coubertin’s manifesto went missing during the two World Wars but was found in the 1990s after the Marquis d’Amat of France scoured flea markets across the world. In 2022 the document was sold for a staggering $8.8 million!

3. Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” Jersey

In 1968 Argentina took on England in a World Cup quarter-final grudge match that took place just four years after the British army’s bloody retaking of the Falklands Islands. The Argentines were fired up in this game and eventually ran out 2-1 winners, but not without some controversy along the way.

Diego Maradona scored two goals in the game, the second of which has been described by many as “The Goal of the Century”, but it was the first that is arguably more famous.

With a high ball dropping above his and the goalkeeper’s head, Maradona outleapt Peter Shilton, who stood a whole 8 inches taller than him, to head into the back of the net and give Argentina the lead.

The only problem was that Maradona didn’t use his head, instead using his outstretched hand, to divert the ball past the ‘keeper. The officials missed the infringement and awarded Argnetina the goal, with Maradona later claiming that it was the “Hand of God” that had intervened.

Following his death, Maradona’s jersey from the game sold for $8.9 million in 2022.

(The infamous Hand of God.)

2. Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance” Chicago Bulls Jersey

There’s a lot of entrants in this list from 2022. So much so that it feels as if there was some massive global event that left people at home watching sports documentaries just a few years before…

One TV show that was incredibly popular during the pandemic and didn’t feature Joe Exotic was Netflix’s The Last Dance, which told the story of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls last NBA Finals victory.

The person who bought his match worn jersey from Game One of that series was clearly a fan of the documentary as they spent $10 million to get their hands on it!

  1. 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Card

If you feel bad about spending a couple of hundred dollars on a bit of sports memorabia then spare a thought for the guy that bought this. Sure Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest to have ever played ball, the game’s first ever five-tool player and a man with a record of 20 All-Star appearances, but $12.6 million for a signed card!?

That seems absurd to us, it’s just a card with his autograph on it, and at least the other entrants on this list were worn or involved in a piece of sporting history. Perhaps our failure to understand the importance of this item is why we’ll never make money selling sports memorabilia…

(The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia in the world.)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button