Wayne Gretzky, Pele, Paul Hornung items headline 'Century of Champions' auction


Ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky’s signed game-worn rookie season Edmonton Oilers road jersey is seen in an undated handout photo ahead of a sports memorabilia auction. Courtesy of Sotheby’s and Goldin Auctions/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - A one of a kind trophy created for Brazilian World Cup soccer legend Pele and a jersey worn by Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky as a rookie in 1979 are among items celebrating 100 years of sporting history that are headed for auction.

Sotheby's said on Tuesday it had teamed up with sports specialists Goldin Auctions to offer some 100 lots of memorabilia from athletes including Babe Ruth, Rafael Nadal, Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady and LeBron James in an online auction from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3.

The "Century of Champions" auction covers artifacts from the worlds of baseball, tennis, basketball, boxing and more, including rare collectors cards and clothing.

National Hockey League player Gretzky's 1979-80 worn and signed, rookie-season Edmonton Oilers road jersey is one of the top items with a pre-sale estimate of $450,000 to $600,000.

The Jules Rimet trophy given to Pele after he helped Brazil win its third World Cup in 1970 is expected to fetch up to $800,000. It was made for Pele by world soccer body FIFA and first sold by the player at a 2016 auction of his career memorabilia.

A Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contender Championship signed rookie card, described as in near mint condition, is priced at $250,000 to $300,000, while a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball rookie card could fetch up to $200,000, Sotheby's and Goldin said.

Other highlights include the 1956 Heisman trophy ($400,000 to $500,000) won by Green Bay Packers NFL player Paul Hornung, who died last week at age 84, and the late Muhammad Ali's signed 1996 Olympic Games torch ($14,000 to $20,000).

The current world record price for an item of sports memorabilia was set in December 2019 when Pierre de Coubertin's 1892 Olympic Manifesto sold in New York for $8.8 million, eight times over the expected price.

(This story corrects end date of auction in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Christian Schmollinger/Mark Heinrich)

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