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Friday 21 July 2017

Best memorabilia likely to net €600,000 in auction

Fergus Black

HE enthralled the world with his genius and dazzling footwork on the pitch and his colourful and controversial lifestyle off it.

Now, almost five years after the death of football legend George Best, a unique collection of his medals, trophies and awards won by Northern Ireland and Manchester United football legend George Best could fetch more than €590,000 when it goes under the auctioneer's hammer next month.

Thirteen items that belonged to the footballer, including his 1968 European Cup winner's medal valued at up to €140,000, are being put up for sale by the executors of his will at the Bonhams sporting memorabilia auction in Chester, England, on October 20.

"There's a lot of interest already in the collection and it could reach over £500,000 (€590,000) if things go well," Bonhams sporting memorabilia expert Christopher Hayes said.

Along with Pele, George Best is still regarded as the most skilful footballer that ever played the game, and Mr Hayes said the collection was most comprehensive ever auctioned.

The top lot, Best's 1968 European Cup medal, was won during Man Utd's 4-1 victory over Portuguese champions Benfica. After he initially lost the medal, the Professional Footballers' Association had a replica made which was modelled on Bobby Charlton's borrowed medal. The copy is also up for auction, where it could fetch more than €11,500.

Expected to spark a bidding frenzy is his 1968 English Football Writers' Association footballer of the year trophy. It has a sale estimate of €88,000-€117,000.

The sale also features a limited-edition George Best Faberge egg, which is being offered by a private collector. The egg was 37th of only 68 produced -- 37 being the number of caps he won for Northern Ireland.

The auction also includes an American Soccer League tray that was presented to him in 1968, in appreciation of his efforts towards boosting professional soccer in North America.

Irish Independent

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