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Sale of George Best collection cancelled over asking price

Minimum of £350,000 wanted for memorabilia

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Football legend: George Best playing for Northern Ireland

Football legend: George Best playing for Northern Ireland

George Best's 1988 testimonial shirt

George Best's 1988 testimonial shirt

Gold medal in original Vaughtons box

Gold medal in original Vaughtons box

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Football legend: George Best playing for Northern Ireland

A major auction of sports memorabilia spanning George Best's career has been pulled after failing to reach a minimum asking price of £350,000.

Meticulously compiled by a private collector over 40 years, the biographical treasure trove of around 1,000 items includes everything from football jerseys worn at every stage of his career to a wine-stained painting the sporting legend damaged in his former nightclub.

Due to go under the hammer on Monday at Stacey's Auction House in Essex, the lot was removed after initial interest showed expected sales far below the asking price.

Dave Alexander, owner of valuing company Football Wanted, was arranging the sale and said he hoped another opportunity would emerge.

"It got to about £250,000 but that wasn't enough for the vendor, so unfortunately it will go through as unsold at the moment unless they negotiate," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

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George Best's 1988 testimonial shirt

George Best's 1988 testimonial shirt

George Best's 1988 testimonial shirt

"It was always going to be a tough sell. There's a George Best Airport in Belfast - that would have been the absolute perfect place for the collection, but airports are struggling at the moment.

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"The George Best Hotel in Belfast also seems to have gone bust so the timing wasn't great, but it's just one of those things. For that amount of money, it really did need to be £350,000 but we'll see if the vendor is willing to negotiate somewhere nearer the middle."

Praising the quality of the collection, he said it was presented like a story of the footballing great's life.

"You start off when he's around 16-17 right through to his later days after his retirement," he said.

The auction description describes Best as "the most magical footballer of his generation" blessed with breathtaking skills and unique charisma.

It said the owner spent the last 40 years of his life assembling the collection, and was hopeful any new owner would commit to sharing items from the collection to view in a museum, hotel or other public arena.

The more unusual additions include a number plate from his E-Type Jaguar and a wine-soaked painting from his London nightclub Blondes.

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Gold medal in original Vaughtons box

Gold medal in original Vaughtons box

Gold medal in original Vaughtons box

Sporting memorabilia expert Dave Davies, from soccerbid.co.uk, told the Irish Daily Star: "Probably the most famous item is the painting of George's house, Que Sera Sera, which he put up in Blondes.

"George used to quite often get drunk. Someone said something and he threw this glass of wine at the person who ducked.

"It was really funny to watch because all the liquid stayed in the glass and hit that painting."

Last month, a new George Best themed cafe was launched in Portavogie where the late footballer had a seaside home.

Bestie's @ The New Quays celebrates his connection to the town and boasts an extensive collection of memorabilia for fans to enjoy.


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