Historic Uruguayan Soccer Artifacts to be Auctioned in Montevideo

A century after Uruguayan soccer player Ángel Romano triumphed in the Paris Olympics, his iconic jersey is up for auction at $90,000. The event will showcase 180 artifacts from Uruguayan and global soccer history.

One hundred years ago, Uruguayan soccer player Ángel Romano played a crucial role in securing victory at the 1924 Paris Olympics, a tournament considered equivalent to a World Cup. Romano wore a jersey that will soon be auctioned with a starting price of $90,000. This jersey, alongside other significant soccer memorabilia, will be part of an auction in Montevideo on Wednesday, June 19. The auction will feature 180 items spanning the history of Uruguayan and global soccer from the first major triumph in the 1924 Olympics to 2004, including the 1930 and 1950 World Cup tournaments.

In an interview with EFE, Sebastián Zorrilla, founder and owner of the auction house organizing the event, they explained that there are items for all collectors, including photographs, historical documents, and a vast collection of Uruguayan soccer jerseys. “We have pieces from all the important championships: a jersey from the first World Cup in 1930, pins awarded to the Uruguayan delegation at the 1928 Olympics, and a document signed by the entire squad of the 1950 world champions,” Zorrilla detailed.

Zorrilla Subastas’ principal item is Ángel Romano’s jersey, a truly unique piece worldwide. “It’s an exciting item because of its rarity. We’ve already received inquiries from museums and major soccer collectors worldwide, showing interest in acquiring a garment with a base price of $90,000,” Zorrilla noted. “The public will decide how much such an important piece in soccer history is worth.”

The jersey came into Zorrilla’s possession through a private collector who had purchased it from another collector, who had acquired it from Romano’s grandson. “We know how it got here; we don’t know where it will end up,” Zorrilla mused.

Other significant items from the 1924 Olympics include a medal awarded to the champions and a cigarette case gifted by Uruguayan residents in Paris to the players of the Celeste, specifically to team captain José Nasazzi. Another legendary figure in soccer, Diego Maradona, is represented with an autographed 1987-88 SSC Napoli jersey authenticated by a leading American certification company.

From Uruguay to the World

According to Zorrilla, the auction timing is no coincidence: “We knew the 100th anniversary was coming, and it was the perfect occasion for everyone to be talking about that historic triumph.” This year marks the centenary of the Celeste winning the first of their four soccer stars, as the 1924 and 1928 Olympic titles are considered equivalent to World Cups, having been organized by FIFA before the first World Cup in 1930.

“Undoubtedly, soccer is Uruguay’s greatest ambassador in sports. We’ve had glory in all eras, and it garners much interest worldwide. We’ve received inquiries from various places,” Zorrilla explained. Although Zorrilla Subastas handles various items—jewelry, paintings, or furniture—the proprietor admits that soccer is one of their most intriguing themes, not just for the sport itself but for the history it carries.

This is the third major global auction they have held, which Zorrilla believes has established them in this niche despite the challenges of gathering such unique pieces. “Fortunately, all of them have been successful internationally. We always work a lot with foreign clients, but this one, in particular, excites the collectors of something as specific as soccer,” he noted.

The auction of these historic soccer artifacts in Montevideo resonates significantly within the broader Latin American context. Soccer is not merely a sport in Latin America; it is a cultural phenomenon that unites nations, transcends social boundaries, and instills deep pride. Including Romano’s jersey and Maradona’s signed shirt underscores the region’s profound influence on global soccer history.

Latin America has not only produced some of the world’s most extraordinary soccer talents and memorable moments, from Pele and Maradona to more recent stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar, but it has also left an indelible mark on the global soccer stage. The auction serves as a powerful reminder of Latin American soccer’s rich legacy and ongoing global impact.

Uruguay’s victory in the 1924 Olympics was a milestone that set the stage for future successes, including their World Cup wins in 1930 and 1950. These achievements are a source of national pride and a testament to the region’s enduring passion for soccer. The auctioned artifacts symbolize this heritage, allowing collectors to own a global history that shaped the sport.

Global Interest and Preservation of History

The international interest in these items highlights the universal appeal of soccer and the shared reverence for its history. Collectors worldwide recognize these artifacts’ significance, not just as memorabilia but as cultural treasures. The auction offers a unique opportunity to acquire pieces that have witnessed some of the most pivotal moments in soccer history.

Zorrilla Subastas’ dedicated efforts to authenticate and preserve these items are instrumental in ensuring that they remain valuable and respected pieces of soccer’s legacy. The rigorous authentication process, particularly for items like Maradona’s signed jersey, adds a crucial layer of trust and credibility to these collectibles, contributing to the preservation of soccer’s rich history.

The auction’s success will depend on the passion and dedication of collectors who understand the importance of these pieces. Zorrilla concluded, “Whoever wants a piece like this knows that now is the time, and we are sure they will take care of and appreciate it for its historical value.”

Celebrating a Century of Soccer Heritage

The upcoming auction of historic Uruguayan soccer artifacts is more than just a sale; it is a celebration of a century of soccer heritage. From Ángel Romano’s jersey to Maradona’s signed shirt, each item tells a story of triumph, passion, and the enduring legacy of Latin American soccer.

As the world reflects on 100 years since Uruguay’s historic victory in the 1924 Olympics, the auction provides a tangible connection to the past. It honors the achievements of Celeste and underscores the significant role that soccer continues to play in shaping national identities and uniting people across the globe.

Also read: Uruguay’s Historic Soccer Triumphs Celebrated in Montevideo Exhibition

This auction is a rare opportunity for collectors and soccer enthusiasts to own a piece of history, preserving the memories and achievements that have defined the beautiful game. As these artifacts find new homes, they will continue to inspire and remind future generations of soccer’s incredible journey in Latin America and beyond.

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