Auctionet: Pelé Scores Big

A Pelé picture that was once tucked away in the back pocket of a pair of jeans during the summer of 1958 can now be found for tens of thousands.

It would probably be unthinkable today, but in 1958, Sweden hosted the FIFA World Cup. The fever spread across the entire country, especially as Sweden made it to the final. A match they lost to Brazil with a score of 5-2. Two of the goals were scored by the then 17-year-old Pelé (1940-2022), thus marking the birth of a world star.

During the championship, candy-craving children and teenagers could buy the candy box Alfa Pastill and find collector’s pictures of the various national team players inside. The most sought-after teams were naturally the host nation’s and the Brazilian national team, and some of the so-called Alfa pictures quickly became highly sought after.

The most coveted of all was the picture of Pelé, and after his passing in 2022, prices skyrocketed.

In October 2023, 61 Alfa pictures with Pelé at the forefront were sold at Crafoord Auctions Stockholm for just over £52,500 (700,000 SEK) including the auction house’s fees).

After the record sale, a series of Alfa pictures with Pelé have been auctioned off, and it seems that many have preserved the picture with great care. But another picture of Pelé has become the subject of collectors’ interest. It is the portrait of him from the so-called Suit series. The origin is unknown, but the series got its name because several of the World Cup players (though far from all) are depicted dressed in suits. The specimen seen here was sold in February 2024 at Växjö Auction Chamber for £19,500 (260,000 SEK, including the auction house’s fees).

An international audience has driven prices to previously unseen levels, but the condition is crucial for a good price. A Pelé picture that was once tucked away in the back pocket of a pair of jeans during the summer of 1958 can now be found for tens of thousands.

auctionet.com