CGC Cards Certifies Rare Rookie Cards of Legendary Soccer Stars Pelé and Best

Posted on 10/23/2023

The three vintage soccer cards dating back to the 1950s and 1960s are some of the earliest collectibles from each of the players' iconic careers.

CGC Cards™ receives a wide variety of submissions, including many rare cards from across the sporting world. Recently, CGC Cards certified a trio of seldom-seen rookie cards from two of the most iconic soccer players of the mid-20th century: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, and George Best. The highly coveted cards feature the players when they were just teenagers (each being around 18 years old at the time of each card's release), making these some of the earliest collectibles of their respective careers.

The cards include a pair of the same Pelé rookie card from 1958, with one graded slightly higher than the other. The first example is a 1958 Alifabolaget #635 Pelé that received a grade of CGC 2. One of the most iconic soccer card sets ever made, the 1958 Alifabolaget sticker card series includes a small portion that features some of the stars of the 1958 World Cup. The World Cup stars formed numbers 615 to 650 in the set, with Brazilian, Swedish, West German and Welsh stars making up the 35-card run. The rookie card of Pelé is not only the gem of the bunch, but it is also considered the holy grail of all soccer cards.

1958 Alifabolaget #635 Pelé graded CGC 2
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The second example of the famous card is a 1958 Alifabolaget #635 Pelé that received a grade of CGC 1.5. The rookie card is also significant since it has direct ties to Brazil's first of five World Cup victories, with it being Pelé's first of three World Cup wins — each records for the winningest country and individual player at the World Cup. Even in a lower grade, these cards can be worth five figures. In February 2022, a high-grade example of the 1958 Pelé rookie card sold for an astounding $1.33 million, breaking the all-time record for a soccer card.

1958 Alifabolaget #635 Pelé graded CGC 1.5
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It's no surprise that the rookie card is the most expensive ever sold, especially considering the legendary career of Pelé. The Brazilian is universally known as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, with many considering him to be the best to ever play the game. The forward and attacking midfielder helped popularize soccer across the world, as he became a household name and the first global soccer star. Throughout his pro career, Pelé almost scored an average of one goal per game he played in. He is still the only player in history to have won three World Cup trophies (1958, 1962, 1970) and is revered as soccer royalty.

In addition to the two Pelé cards, CGC Cards also certified a rookie card of Northern Irish soccer phenom George Best. The 1964 Barratt & Co. Famous Footballers #29 George Best received a grade of CGC 4.5. It features a teenaged portrait of the famous winger from early on in his Manchester United club career. The back contains details about his earliest days with Manchester, while also mentioning his two international appearances for Northern Ireland when Best was still just a teenager. High-grade examples of his rookie card are worth tens of thousands of dollars. However, considering his iconic career, even lower grades are still worth thousands.

1964 Barratt & Co. Famous Footballers #29 George Best graded CGC 4.5
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Best was well-known for his skillful dribbling, blistering pace and superb balance; his style of play had previously never been seen before in European soccer. He played the majority of his prime years at one of the most popular clubs in the world, Manchester United, and he also made 37 international appearances for Northern Ireland. On the pitch, the winger won two English League titles and the European Cup once. Off of the pitch, he became one of the first soccer celebrities, earning the nickname "o Quinto Beatle," or the fifth Beatle. He was United's top scorer for five years in a row and ended his 11-year run in Manchester with 179 goals in 470 appearances.

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