Tom Brady #12

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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. 

Related: Sports Collectibles That Scored Big at Auction

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: 

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. 

Related: The 25 Best-Paid Athletes in the World

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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