Sports Fandom

Gaga for Jerseys

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The soccer jersey market is defined not just by dollar signs, but sentimental value attributed by fans and collectors – and therefore it is a business where emotions can run high.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • In 2002, Christie’s auctioned the Pele’s jersey from the legendary 1970 World Cup Final for €260,000 – still the record today.
    • The most expensive sale with regard to German soccer was a jersey worn in 1930 by former national team player Richard Hofmann. It changed hands for €21,000.
    • Swindlers forge valuable match worn jerseys by buying old material and adding traces of use according to photographs.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf
David Convery, Christie’s football specialist, sta
David Convery, Christie's football specialist, stands next to a football shirt worn by Pele which fetched a record €260,000 ($276000). Source: Adrian Dennis, Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Christian König received an email. It had been sent by a former security guard for the German soccer club FC Schalke 04. While working, he had collected match-worn jerseys from players and now wanted to get rid of them. He remembered Mr. König, who was agog at such a stroke of luck and paid €600 for 19 jerseys. The plunder brought his collection up to 1,202 shirts with a total value he estimates at €35,000 to €45,000.

Soccer jerseys is a market that has flourished, and is only continuing to do so. When Mr. König began collecting in the 1980s, he contacted clubs that were changing sponsors or suppliers at the end of the season. They had no use for the old shirts and were happy to have them taken off their hands.

Today the niche has become a lucrative business. “There is a global market for soccer jerseys. Not only in Europe, but also North America and Asia,” said Wolfgang Fuhr, auctioneer and managing director at the sports auction house Agon Sportsworld.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.