The jersey Argentina’s Diego Maradona wore when he scored the “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has sold for a world record price of $9.28 million at an auction at Sotheby’s in London.
The final price surpasses both the previous record for a match-worn jersey, which was the $5.64m paid in 2019 on Babe Ruth’s 1928-1930 New York Yankees jersey, and the record price for a piece of sports memorabilia, which stood at $8.8m for the original hand-drawn Olympic manifesto that was sold in 2019 in New York.
Maradona wore the shirt in the quarterfinal against England in 1986 in which he scored both of Argentina’s goals in their 2-1 win. The first was the infamous “Hand of God” goal where he palmed the ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Maradona, who died in November 2020, later said the goal was “a little from the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God.”
His second goal is widely considered one of the finest to grace a World Cup. Maradona picked up the ball on the halfway line, dribbled through the England team and dinked it over Shilton to give Argentina a 2-0 lead. It was later named Goal of the Century by FIFA.
Steve Hodge, the former England midfielder, swapped shirts with Maradona after the 1986 match. He had previously turned down potential bids for the shirt, and it had been on display in the National Football Museum since 2002. But on April 6, Sotheby’s announced the shirt was up for auction.
Sotheby’s placed an estimate of $5m-7.5m on the shirt, and within hours of the auction opening on April 21, there was a first bid of £4m. Once the buyer’s premium, overhead premium and tax were all factored in, the price exceed the previous record of $5.64m on Ruth’s jersey.
The listing was not without controversy. When Sotheby’s announced the auction, Maradona’s daughter, Dalma, claimed it was not the correct jersey. She said the shirt Hodge had was in fact the jersey Maradona wore in the first half of that 1986 match, and not the one he had on when he scored both goals.
But Sotheby’s turned to Resolution Photomatching to independently verify Hodge had the correct jersey from the second half and it was the “Hand of God” shirt. The buyer will remain anonymous, and auctioneer Brahm Wachter told ESPN that “whoever buys it, [the jersey] probably never surfaces again.”
This auction comes just a month after an unnamed bidder spent $5.516m at auction on the clubs Tiger Woods used to win all four Majors between 2000 and 2001. Sources within the sports memorabilia world told ESPN they expect a further boom in demand for match-worn jerseys, specifically from football, over the coming months.