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Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ Jersey Sells for $9.3 Million

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In the course of the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, the English soccer player Steve Hodge looped a ball to his goalie that was intercepted by the Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, enabling Maradona to attain probably the most notorious goals against Hodge’s team.

It might turn into probably the most talked-about goals in skilled soccer: In a fast-moving sequence, Maradona got away with using his left hand to palm the ball, and he later invoked “the hand of God” to elucidate what had occurred.

Within the stadium tunnel after Argentina won, 2-1, Hodge asked Maradona to exchange jerseys.

Now, the victor of the exchange seems debatable. Maradona advanced to the finals and won, but Hodge received a shirt that, dried sweat and all, he just sold for nearly $9.3 million at an auction held by Sotheby’s — believed to be the best price ever paid for a chunk of sports memorabilia.

Sotheby’s announced the sale on Wednesday on Twitter. It didn’t specify the customer. In a news release, Sotheby’s quoted Hodge calling it a “pleasure” to have exhibited the shirt for the last 20 years on the National Football Museum in Manchester, England.

He added, “The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural intending to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England and I’m certain that the brand new owner may have immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt.”

Leila Dunbar, an appraiser of popular culture merchandise, said that the sale was emblematic of the recent increase in the worth of sports memorabilia. “Since 2020,’’ she said, “this latest ascension is like nothing I actually have ever seen in greater than three a long time within the business.”

Maradona, generally considered together with Pelé amongst the all-time soccer players, was known for scrappiness and sudden bursts of virtuosity. Each those characteristics were epitomized by his play within the second half of that quarterfinal match against England, which took place in Mexico City.

After the left-hand infraction, Maradona immediately began to rejoice, before English players had a probability to blow up on the referees.

4 minutes later, Maradona scored what soccer fans consecrated in a vote held by the game’s governing body, FIFA, because the “World Cup Goal of the Century.” Starting in his team’s own half of the sector, dribbling backward momentarily, sprinting one moment and in one other slowing to a prance, he traveled 70 yards, circumvented five English players, then blew past the team’s goalie and — in a nanosecond before tumbling over — kicked within the winning goal.

The Falklands War, which resulted in a British defeat of Argentina, gave the match a bigger symbolic dimension.

“This was revenge,” Maradona wrote in his autobiography, “I Am Diego” (2000). “It was something larger than us: We were defending our flag.”

The authenticity of the jersey was questioned just a few weeks beforehand, when Maradona’s eldest daughter, Dalma Maradona, told Agence France-Presse that her father had given Hodge the jersey he had worn through the match’s relatively uneventful first half.

A spokeswoman for Sotheby’s told AFP that the auction house had undertaken “extensive diligence and scientific research” to authenticate the jersey’s use through the game’s climactic moments. Written accounts by each Maradona and Hodge confirm an exchange of jerseys after the sport. (In an email, a Sotheby’s spokesman assured that the jersey had not been washed since then.)

Wealthy Mueller, the founder and editor of Sports Collectors Every day, a web site dedicated to the sports memorabilia industry, said the sale represented the best price he had ever heard anyone paying for memorabilia, in an auction or a personal sale.

Essentially the most recent record-setting sports items sold at auction have included a Babe Ruth jersey, which sold for $5.6 million in June 2019, and a document that laid out the founding principles of the fashionable Olympics, which sold for $8.8 million in December 2019.

For instance the best way the costs for sports memorabilia have skyrocketed, Ms. Dunbar, the appraiser, identified that in 2017, a Jackie Robinson jersey from 1947, his rookie season, sold for around $2 million, and last yr, a 1950 Robinson jersey sold for greater than twice as much — around $4.2 million. Ms. Dunbar estimated that a Robinson jersey that went on sale could now bring $10 million to $20 million.

“Individuals are realizing this stuff will be appreciated like a murals,” Brahm Wachter, the top of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, said. “I’ve desired to sell the shirt for a very long time, perhaps the longest of any item I’ve actually had the privilege of selling.”

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