The World Cup is one of those rare events that actually does bring people together.
A few days ago I watched Mexico’s surprise victory against Germany.
I then hopped onto YouTube and watched that country’s ecstatic fans celebrating in the streets of Mexico City and Guadalajara.
According to the New York Post, fans jumping up and down at the same time registered as a (very small) earthquake at the country’s seismic detection centres.
That’s the power of football.
I had a similar experience last week, when England (just about) beat Tunisia in a tight and tense game.
That last minute header from Harry Kane had me leaping off the sofa. Not with quite enough force to set the ground shaking, although my neighbours may well have wondered what was up.
England’s 6-1 demolition of Panama – well that’s another story.
In the spirit of the tournament, I want to show you three of my favourite pieces of World Cup memorabilia.
The Jules Rimet Trophy
World Cup memorabilia doesn’t get any more important than the Jules Rimet Trophy.
This was the official cup between 1930 and 1974.
It’s considerably more elegant than the present trophy, which – it has to be said – is not much of a looker.
FIFA gifted this replica Jules Rimet trophy to Pele in 1970 (Image: Julien's Auctions)
The Jules Rimet was originally known as the Coupe du Monde but was named for a FIFA official of that name in 1946. Designer Abel Lafleur was inspired by the iconic Nike of Samothrace statue found in the Louvre.
It has a very odd history. No one seems to know where the original is. It appears to have been stolen from a museum in Brazil in the 1970s (this was the second attempted theft – in the first it was recovered in a bush in London).
In 2016, Julien’s Auctions sold a copy of this statue (definitely a replica, made for Brazilian legend Pele in 1970) for a staggering £394,000 ($521,370).
He received it in recognition for leading Brazil to three World Cup victories in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
He’s still the only player to get his own World Cup trophy...
But then again, no one else has ever pulled off that astonishing feat.
Geoff Hurst’s 1966 World Cup final jersey
Will football be coming home at long last?
We’ll have a better idea on Thursday, when England clash with the mighty Belgium squad.
This is the very jersey Geoff Hurst wore to score his hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup Final (Image: National Football Museum)
It’s now been well over 50 years since England achieved their fabled victory against Germany in the 1966 World Cup.
All of those old heroes are well into old age now. Some have passed on.
But the memory of that extraordinary moment is still invoked every time England step on to the pitch.
It’s also reflected in the price of memorabilia connected with it. Most football collectors are located in the UK, hence the bias towards 1966 at auction.
However things don’t always work out that way. The jersey Geoff Hurst was wearing when he scored his breathtaking hat trick in that historic game was offered in 2016. Incredibly, it failed to sell. But I can’t see that happening again. This really is the greatest piece of English football memorabilia money can buy.
Pele’s 1958 World Cup winner’s medal
Football has had a few iconic names over the years.
Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer...
But none has ever come close to lacing on Pele’s boots. His flowing, graceful style has never been matched. His goal tally (1,281 in 1,361 games) is a Guinnes World Record).
Where the legend began - Pele's first World Cup winner's medal (Image: Julien's Auctions)
In 2016, his winner’s medal for the 1958 World Cup (his first victory in the tournament) achieved £200,000 ($265,367).
A great story is what separates the best memorabilia from the merely average.
And there can be no better World Cup story than a young boy raised in a Brazilian slum, who learned to play football with a sock full of paper and became the greatest player the world has ever seen.
Unless, of course, England bring it home in 2018.
Then I think we'll have a new contender.
All the best,
I have one of the best pieces of 1966 memorabilia on the market.