South West Wales

Rugby club's Pele shirt to go under the hammer

Pele and the signed Santos Shirt Image copyright AFP/Rogers Jones
Image caption Pele, who scored more than 1,000 career goals, signed the Santos FC shirt

A rare football shirt signed by Brazil legend Pele is to be auctioned off by the small Swansea Valley rugby club which has displayed it for decades.

The 1970s Santos FC jersey, inked with the three-times World Cup winner's autograph, is valued at up to £6,000.

It part of a collection being sold by Cwmtwrch RFC, which is raising cash for a new club house.

Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said he was "gobsmacked" when he saw the club's collection of sports jerseys and cups.

Pele - real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento - enjoyed 18 years at Santos, scoring 692 goals, and helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

The shirt will go on sale with other sporting lots, including a 1972 Llanelli rugby shirt worn by Phil Bennett, at the Cardiff salesroom of Roger Jones and Co on 12 February.

Image copyright Getty Images/Rogers Jones
Image caption Pele's signature and the Brazil star when he appeared in the film, Escape to Victory

Mr Jones added: "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."

The auctioneer is unsure whether Pele ever played in the shirt, but Mr Jones said it was "very unusual" as the great man signed it with his first name, Edson.

Last year, Rogers Jones and Co sold a 110-year-old shirt worn by former All Blacks captain Dave Gallaher for £180,000.

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