Lionel Messi's First Contract Napkin Auctioned for $376,000

Monday, May 13, 2024 by Claire Jimenez

Lionel Messi's First Contract Napkin Auctioned for $376,000
Servilleta / Lionel Messi a los 13 años - Imagen de © Captura de pantalla/Marca

The auction for the napkin bearing Lionel Messi's first contract with FC Barcelona kicked off last Wednesday with a starting bid of 300,000 British pounds, approximately 348,000 euros, as reported by sports media. This marks another attempt to sell the precious item, which has been meticulously preserved by Horacio Gaggioli, the agent who brought a 13-year-old Messi to sign with the Spanish football giant.

The historic napkin was put up for auction by Bonhams, starting at 300,000 pounds, with bids accepted until May 17th. The napkin dates back to December 2000 and represents a commitment to a contract with Barcelona, signed in blue pen by Carles Rexach, then the sports director of the Blaugrana.

The online auction, organized by Bonhams, spans from last Wednesday, May 8, at 12:00 PM UK time, to May 17. "This is one of the most thrilling items I've ever handled. Yes, it's just a paper napkin, but it's the most famous napkin that marked the beginning of Messi's career," stated Ian Ehling, head of books and manuscripts at Bonhams in New York, in a press release.

The text on the napkin reads: "In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000, and in the presence of Mr. Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, technical secretary of FC Barcelona, commits under his responsibility and despite some contrary opinions to sign the player Lionel Messi, provided we stick to the agreed amounts."

In February, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported a previous auction of the same napkin between March 18 and March 27, highlighting the anticipation of football fans and collectors who view it as a historic relic that forever altered the history of FC Barcelona and the then-teenage Messi's career.

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