An extensive collection of awards presented to the legendary Northern Irish football player, George Best (1946-2005), during his illustrious football career, is to be sold at Bonhams, Chester as part of the Sporting Memorabilia sale on 20 October 2010. The collection has been put up for auction by the Executors of Best’s estate.
The top lot is the 1968 European Cup winner’s medal awarded following Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Benfica, Portugal, when Manchester United became the first English team to win the European Cup. The medal has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £90,000 – 120,000.
The sale also offers a replica of this European Cup Winner’s medal, which was made for Best by the Professional Footballers’ Association when he misplaced the original medal. Modelled on Sir Bobby Charlton’s borrowed medal, it has been estimated at £8,000 – 10,000.
Another highlight of the sale is the 1968 English Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year trophy. Estimated at £75,000 – 100,000, the annual award recognised Best as the top player of the season in English football, as chosen by a panel of 400 football journalists.
Other important lots include the 2002 BBC Lifetime Achievement Award (estimate £5,000 – 8,000), which is given annually to a sportsperson ‘who has made a major impact on the world of sport during their lifetime’; the Freedom of Castlereagh award (estimate £4,000 – 6,000); the 2000 Football Writers Association trophy (estimate £1,000 – 1,500); and the 1994 Legend in Sport trophy (estimate £2,500 – 3,000).
The sale also features a George Best Fabergé egg (number 37 of only 68 produced – 37 being the number of games Best played for Northern Ireland), commemorating the part that Best played in Manchester United’s victory in the 1968 European Cup. Offered by a private collector, and comprising a copy of a European Cup medal at the front, a football League Champions badge at the back and the official 1968 crest of Manchester United and Northern Ireland on either side, it has been estimated at £15,000 – 20,000.