The 1968 European Cup winner’s medal awarded to the legendary Northern Irish football player, George Best (1946-2005), sold for £156,000 on October 20 at Bonhams, Chester. The medal, estimated at £90,000 – 120,000, was presented following Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Benfica, Portugal, when Manchester United became the first English team to win the European Cup. (see post for September 24 on antiquesandartireland.com )
It was among 13 awards presented to George Best during his illustrious football career put up for auction at Bonhams by the Executors of Best’s estate. The proceeds from the sale of the items, which totalled £200,000, will go to Best’s sister, Barbara McNally.
Top prices were also paid for a replica of his European Cup Winner’s medal, made for Best by the Professional Footballers’ Association when he misplaced the original, which fetched £9,000; the 2002 BBC Lifetime Achievement Award given annually to a sportsperson “who has made a major impact on the world of sport during their lifetime”, sold for £7,800; and his 2000 Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame award, made £4,800.
The sale also featured the shirt worn by legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé in his final international appearance for Brazil versus Yugoslavia on 18 July 1971, which made £8,640; and a collection of Muhammad Ali memorabilia, hand-signed and donated by the celebrated former boxer to Parkinson’s UK, which raised over £3,000 for the Parkinson’s disease charity.