The 1968 European Cup winners medal awarded to the legendary Northern Irish football player, George Best (1946-2005), sold for a staggering £156,000 today (20 October) at Bonhams
, Chester, as part of the Sporting Memorabilia sale. The medal, which had attracted a pre-sale estimate of £90,000 120,000, was presented following Manchester Uniteds 4-1 victory over Benfica, Portugal, when Manchester United became the first English team to win the European Cup.
The medal was among 13 awards presented to George Best during his illustrious football career put up for auction at Bonhams by the Executors of Bests estate. The proceeds from the sale of the items, which totalled an impressive £200,000, will go to Bests sister, Barbara McNally.
Top prices were also paid for a replica of this European Cup Winners medal, which was made for Best by the Professional Footballers Association when he misplaced the original medal, 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, which sold for £7,800; and the 2000 Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame award, which fetched £4,800.
Other important lots sold included the 2000 International Hall of Champions award, which made £3,960 and the Freedom of Castlereagh award, which fetched £4,560.
From private collectors, a limited edition George Best Fabergé egg (number 37 of only 68 produced 37 being the number of games Best played for Northern Ireland), commemorating the part that Best played in Manchester Uniteds victory in the 1968 European Cup, sold for £25,200, having been estimated at £15,000 20,000; and a George Best Northern Ireland match worn shirt, the last shirt worn by Best for Northern Ireland while a Manchester United player on 14 November 1973, sold for £6,000.
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 Parkinsons UK, which raised over £3,000 for the Parkinsons disease charity.