The market for valuable sports collectibles is always hot. A rare Honus Wagner baseball card even went for $6.6 million at auction last year, setting a new record for the most expensive sports card ever sold.
So just over $500,000 for the ball thrown by legendary quarterback Tom Brady during the last touchdown pass of his long, record-breaking career seems like a deal, right?
Welllllll. About that.
Sunday evening, Brady announced that he had changed his mind, and instead of easing into a life of relaxation, was returning to the NFL for another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's right: The GOAT has officially unretired, and suddenly that "last" touchdown ball has plummeted in value.
Twitter, of course, had a field day:
Some guy paid $518,000 yesterday for Tom Brady’s “last” touchdown ball. I’d have given anything to see his reaction to the unretirement tweet. pic.twitter.com/eW0MjIQZ4D— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) March 14, 2022
Bidding on the ball started at $100,000 in an auction held by Leland's, long a go-to auction house for valuable sports memorabilia and the same site that sold Brady's first touchdown ball for just under $430,000. There was speculation that it could go for as much as $1 million, meaning the final bidder, who paid $518,628, probably walked away thinking he or she got the deal of the century.
The auction closed at 10 p.m. Saturday, about 21 hours before Brady's announcement.
Of course, the ball could retain its value if Brady — the most prolific quarterback in NFL history, with a record 624 touchdown passes — somehow manages to pass for zero touchdowns when he returns.
Or maybe another buyer might find half a million dollars' worth of humor in the situation. Maybe.
But as it stands now, the ball probably lost about 90% of its value, Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, tells Barron's. “The value of a piece of sporting memorabilia is it being the first one or last one.” Crunching the numbers, that means the ball is actually worth about $52,000.
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