Tom Brady's last touchdown ball sells for $518,628, then he ‘unretired’

The sale went through hours before the NFL star announced he would prolong his playing career

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Sports fans around the world were filled with joy when Tom Brady announced he would delay his NFL retirement and return to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season.

But for one undisclosed investor, the news was not entirely full of cheer.

Brady's last touchdown pass football was auctioned the day before the quarterback made his surprise announcement.

Bidding, through the US-based Lelands auction house, started at $100,000 and after 23 bids, it closed at $518,628.

While the seller will be thankful for 44-year-old Brady's timing, the buyer now owns a ball that is going to be worth considerably less as soon as Brady steps on the field and starts throwing again.

It is not clear if the buyer has paid for the football yet, or whether Lelands will force the buyer to proceed with the auctioned price.

Its terms and conditions state: "If payment is not received within 30 days after the date of the invoice, Lelands reserves the right, without further notice to the buyer, to (a) charge to the buyer’s credit card any balance remaining on the buyer’s invoice; and/or (b) resell any or all the items won by the buyer. In addition, a service charge of 1.5 per cent per month will be applied to any outstanding balance after 30 days."

The touchdown took place in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ home play-off loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on January 23.

Brady’s 55-yard pass was caught by wide receiver Mike Evans, which cut the Rams’ lead to 27-20 with three minutes and 20 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter. Evans threw the ball into the stands, where it was caught by the consignor.

"It was only after the loss, and Brady’s stunning announcement a week later, that the true value of the piece became apparent," said Lelands in its lot description.

"Unlike other items used in the commission of a famous last event, this ball has dual significance because it was also used to establish Tom Brady’s record of 86 career play-off touchdowns. To put that number in its proper perspective, the player in second place, Joe Montana, has a total of 45. Like most of Brady’s passing records, it is a mark that will almost certainly stand the test of time."

Less than a year ago, Brady's first career touchdown ball sold for $428,841.

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Updated: May 30, 2023, 12:27 PM