A football shirt signed by the legendary Pele is up for auction

A rare football shirt signed by Pele will be up for grabs at a sporting-themed auction next week.

The Santos FC jersey was signed by the World Cup winner in the 1970s and has been proudly on display at the rugby club of a tiny Welsh village ever since.

As well as bearing the star’s famous number 10 on the back, it has also been inked with Pele’s name – making the shirt likely to be even more sought after by collectors.

The item is one of 50 lots going under the hammer at Rogers Jones & Co as part of its Sweat, Mud And Blood sale.

Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said the Pele shirt comes with a guide price of between £3,000 to £6,000.

He said: “It is a very rare item because it comes from an era when football replica shirts didn’t really exist.

“An original Santos football shirt from the 1970s would make it sought after by collectors anyway, but to have it signed by its most famous player and one of the greatest football players ever makes it even more special.

“It is very likely to be a player issued jersey – though we don’t know for certain whether Pele actually played a game in it.

“But what makes it unusual is that he has signed it with his first name Edison. Items autographed by him nowadays tend to feature just his surname.”

Pele enjoyed an 18-year career with Brazilian side Santos – scoring 619 goals in almost as many appearances.

“The shirt forms part of an impressive collection put together by Swansea Valley rugby team Cwmtwrch RFC,” added Ben – whose firm last year sold a 110-year-old shirt of former All Blacks captain Dave Gallaher for a staggering £180,000.

“They heard about our big sale last year and got in touch because they are trying to raise funds for a new club house.

“They spoke to us and wondered whether there was any value in the collection they had on their walls. I was gobsmacked when I saw it. There were hundreds of rugby jerseys and caps on the wall – it was like a museum.”

Also going on sale from the same collection will be a number of jerseys worn by rugby greats such as Wales legends Phil Bennett and Arthur Rees.

“The Phil Bennett one is another great item,” said Ben.

“It’s a Llanelli RFC jersey from 1972 – the year when the Scarlets famously beat the All Blacks.

“And the Arthur Rees Wales shirt was played in a game at Cardiff Arms Park against New Zealand too. In fact that game is only one of three times Wales have ever beaten the All Blacks.”

Roger Jones & Co’s Sweat, Mud And Blood (Part 1) sale will take place on February 12.

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