Bidding began at Sotheby's New York on Thursday for six shirts worn by Lionel Messi during Argentina's Fifa 2022 World Cup triumph in Qatar that could become the most valuable sports memorabilia collection in modern history.
The collection includes half a dozen match-worn shirts from Messi's World Cup run, in which he capped his legendary career by lifting the World Cup trophy.
The auction, which began with an opening bid of $5.2 million, will run through December 14. The collection will also be publicly displayed at Sotheby's New York throughout the duration of the bidding process.
The collection is estimated to bring in about $10 million, Sotheby's said. The current record for game-worn sports memorabilia is Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million last year.
Among the set includes the classic Argentinian shirt with the white and sky blue stripes worn by Messi during the first half against France in the World Cup final.
It also includes shirts he wore during the semi-final against Croatia, the quarterfinal against the Netherlands and the first knockout round against Australia, as well as group stage matches against Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
“The 2022 Fifa World Cup stands as one of the greatest events in sports history, intrinsically connected to Messi's valiant journey and firmly establishing his status as the greatest player of all time,” said Brahm Wachter, head of modern collectibles at Sotheby's.
In his career, Messi has won 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions League trophies with FC Barcelona and eight Ballon d'Ors, along with a Copa America trophy with Argentina.
Messi currently plays for Inter Miami CF.