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1958 Pele Becomes Most Expensive Soccer Card Ever Sold

Brokered by Goldin Auctions, the GOAT’s 1958 Alifabolaget #635 is the closest a soccer trading card has come to a $1 million sale to date.

In the trading card hobby, soccer has long been a sleeping giant. Sure, it’s a bit hard to imagine how and why the most popular sport in the world could be such a wide-open growth industry, but facts are facts. Here and now, not a single soccer trading card has sold for $1 million — but on Thursday, the Beautiful Game got closer than ever.

In a sale brokered by Goldin Auctions, a 1958 Alifabolaget card featuring Brazilian legend Pele in PSA 9 mint condition went for $900,000, the highest price ever paid for a soccer card.

Back in May, a PSA 8.5 version of this same card sold for $372,000 at Heritage Auctions. That’s was the second-highest sum on record for a soccer card, trailing only the $432,000 paid for a 1-of-1 Erling Haaland 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Autographs Superfractor at Goldin Auctions.

It’s incredibly rare for a card as old as this one to be preserved in such pristine condition, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that soccer’s GOAT is the athlete depicted (even a PSA 4 of the Alifabolaget #635 card went for $66,000 at auction back in September). The mint condition PSA 9 is the elite of the elite when it comes to Pele, with just five in existence according to current population reports. There are no PSA 10s on record, which is admittedly understandable for a card that’s more than six decades old.

The last ’58 Alifabolaget Pele PSA 9 to change hands? It happened barely a year ago, but it sure feels like a whole lot more time has passed since then. The final price at Goldin Auctions for that mint-condition offering was “just” $288,000.

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Want to get into the soccer side of the hobby? Click here to read Boardroom’s Soccer Card Investor Cheat Sheet.