Auction preview: Famed Messi napkin up for bid, already at $275k

Ticket for Michael Jordan's 63-point playoff game also among this week's lots

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Sports history was sealed on this napkin, which represented Lionel Messi's first agreement with FC Barcelona.

Welcome to cllct's weekly auction preview.

Every Thursday, we'll highlight the most interesting items coming up for bid this weekend and offer our analysis.

The Messi Napkin

We're giving you a full week to digest this one since it's already the most expensive napkin in world history. Yes, Bonham's in England is auctioning off a napkin.

The Messi napkin is signed by two agents and FC Barcelona's sporting director.
The Messi napkin is signed by two agents and FC Barcelona's sporting director.

According to soccer lore, FC Barcelona wanted to sign 13-year-old Lionel Messi, but Messi's father, Jorge, was getting impatient. Messi had a trial game in September 2000, and Barcelona officials gushed over him, but three months later, there was nothing. So, Jorge threatened to take Lionel back to Argentina.

Realizing they couldn't let the kid go, two agents and Carles Rexach, Barca's sporting director, memorialized the agreement at a tennis club in Barcelona in December 2000. Not having any paper, the agreement was written on a napkin.

"In Barcelona, on 14 December 2000 and the presence of Messrs Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, FC Barcelona's sporting director, hereby agrees, under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, to sign the player Lionel Messi, provided that we keep to the amounts agreed upon."

The napkin was signed by Rexach and agents Horacio Gaggioli and Josep Maria Minguella. Messi was signed a month later and went on to become arguably the greatest soccer player of all time.

Immediately realizing the importance of the document, Gagglioli put it in a vault in Andorra. In March, Bonham's was ready to auction the historic relic, when Minguella claimed he was the rightful owner. Bonham's says Gaggloli has since won a legal opinion that he has clear rights to sell the napkin under Spanish law, and he will transfer title to the winner.

How high will be the bidding go? Well, a first bid of $275,000 has already been placed.

Given that Messi's ID as a kid from his first soccer club sold for $181,200, and his fresh jerseys from the World Cup sold for $7.8 million, I'm going to predict this napkin goes for $750,000. If it were signed by Messi, I would say $2 million.

Michael Jackson-Michael Jordan dual signed "Bad" album

Talk about an oddball piece. This is only the second item I have ever seen signed by the most famous MJs in the world.

Auctioneer VSA says in its description that it was signed by Jordan at one of his Flight camps and, at the time, Jordan remarked how it was one of the coolest items he had ever signed. Jackson's market has cooled down some for obvious reasons, but I think this is still an $8,500 piece.

Shaq's 1989 McDonald's All-American uniform

Shaquille O'Neal's uniform from the famous high school all-star game is an outstanding piece, and this auction closes Saturday.

In that 1989 game, he had 18 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks, giving the world a preview of his future dominance. It's not only photo-matched, but it also comes with a letter from Shaq.

With the game-worn market being on fire, I would not be surprised to see this sell for $100,000.

JFK's "notes" from hotel the day before his death

The night before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy was at the Rice Hotel in Houston for three and half hours, where he attended a meeting. The auction features one of four pages of "notes" from that meeting.

The notes were given to historian Robert L. White by Kennedy's secretary Evelyn Lincoln in 1995, and the documents have since changed hands again.

The auction closes next Wednesday, and it already has seen a lot of activity, with bidding at $23,563. It has the capacity to go much higher. One of the pages of Kennedy drawing a sail boat from that meeting sold for $32,943, and that was more than 10 years ago.

Tickets to Michael Jordan's record 63-point game in the 1986 playoffs are extremely rare. (Credit: eBay)
Tickets to Michael Jordan's record 63-point game in the 1986 playoffs are extremely rare. (Credit: eBay)

Michael Jordan's "God disguised as Michael Jordan" game ticket

Jordan set an NBA playoff record that still stands when he exploded for 63 points in a 1986 playoff loss to the eventual champion Celtics at Boston Garden. After Boston escaped with a double-overtime win, Larry Bird said the performance was "God disguised as Michael Jordan."

The ticket from that incredible night from Jordan's second NBA season is one of the hottest in sports. Depending on condition, tickets have been sold for between $5,000 and $13,000 over the last two years.

Ideally, cllct want to use this forum to show you "how the sausage is made" and when bets are made before our eyes — even when it doesn't work out. The $13,000 buyer bought it on April 9, 2023, on eBay, got it graded by PSA, it came back a 3, and has now put it back up on eBay. It's going to be hard-pressed to get to that number, but, given the recent demand for this ticket, there's a small chance it gets there.

1978 advanced ticket for "Grease" movie in Japan

If you haven't yet read Will Stern's story on graded movie tickets, it's a really cool read.

He wrote about the prevalence of Japanese movie tickets, which, aesthetically, are a million times better than those in the U.S. This one is absolutely beautiful and will probably only cost you a Benjamin or two. Bid quickly. It closes Thursday.

Darren Rovell is the founder of and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.