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ARGENTINA | 20-12-2021 12:39

Big-ticket items go unsold in auction of Diego Maradona's assets

Auction of some 90 items owned by late footballing legend fails to attract big bidders. A seaside apartment, two BMWs and a house among the larger items failing to sell.

A virtual auction of some 90 items owned by late footballing legend Diego Maradona on Sunday failed to attract any big bidders, with a seaside apartment, two BMWs and the house he had bought for his parents among the larger items failing to sell.

More than 1,500 potential bidders – from locations across Latin America and in Italy, France, England, Russia and Dubai – had signed up to take part, the autction's organisers said.

But by the end of the three-hour affair, sales totaled only US$26,000, with more than US$1.42 million in assets unbid on, according to AFP calculations.

The morning's highest bid went to a painting of the world-class footballer titled Between Fiorito and the Sky, by artist Lu Sedova. It sold for US$2,150.

It was followed by a photograph of Maradona with late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, purchased for US$1,600 by a buyer in Dubai.

"Auctions are like that – one cannot know the result until it is over," said organiser Adrian Mercado at the conclusion of the sale. "We expected much, but the reality is that it is always unknown."

The biggest-ticket items included a house in Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires,  that Maradona purchased as a youngster for his parents Doña Tota and Don Diego (valued at US$900,000) and an apartment in the seaside resort of Mar del Plata (US$65,000).

Also unsold were two barely driven BMW cars (just over 5,000 kilometres on the clock of each), a 2017 model valued at US$225,000 and a 2016 model at US$165,000, as well as a Hyundai van, at US$38,000.

Among other items that did sell: a painting of Marilyn Monroe was purchased by an Argentine bidder for US$1,500; a team jacket from Naples with his famous number 10 on the back was purchased for US$1,500 from an admirer in Dubai; someone in Germany paid US$270 for training bottoms Maradona wore with Borussia Dortmund; and a box of Cuban cigars brought US$550 from a fellow Argentine.

Items of clothing worn by the late footballer – including ties, caps, hats, shoes and training gear – did attract buyers. But there was no interest in his six television sets or the gym equipment he trained on in Dubai.

The sale had been ordered by Judge Luciana Tedesco to pay the debts and expenses accrued by the estate of the 1986 World Cup winner, who died of cardiac arrest on November 25, 2020. 

The auction, which had 87 lots, reportedly had the agreement of Maradona's five children.

"The children made a great selection of his things," Mercado said before the event. "The most emotional, items with great memories, of great passion, will be kept by the family."

But on Saturday, Gianinna, one of the two daughters Diego had with his ex-wife Claudia Villafañe, said on Twitter that she rejected the idea but had to submit to majority rule.

The court will now have to decide what to do with the unsold items.



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