One of the most sought-after soccer trading cards in the world entered auction earlier this week. The card, a 1958 Americana LTDA Futebol Pele rookie, is considered extremely rare. This is, of course, reflected in the card’s final sale price. The auction ultimately ended on Thursday night with a winning bidder of $66,000.

The history of the card, and others from the series, is actually fascinating. Americana LTDA, a Sao Paulo-based manufacturing company, issued the set featuring the Brazil national team. The move was to celebrate the nation’s triumph at the 1958 World Cup. It was the country’s first trophy at the tournament.

1958 Brazilian trading card set was meant to be destroyed

Brazil was fueled by a fresh-faced 17-year-old future star named Pele. The teen netted six goals in the competition, including scores in all three knockout round matches. Pele’s stellar play was recognized by top journalists covering the competition. Reporters included the Brazilian in the 1958 World Cup Team of the Tournament.

Despite Americana LTDA creating the set of trading cards to honor the Brazil team, the cards were actually meant to be destroyed. Pwcc Marketplace, the auction house that sold the Pele card, claims that fans were told to rip up the cards upon receiving them. Collectors could have also mailed in the cards back to the company to receive special prizes.

Auctioned Pele card was given best rating by authenticating company

Due to the odd request, few of these Pele cards have survived. In fact, records show that the rare card has only ever entered public auction a few times. Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) has also only handled 17 different copies of the card as well.

PSA is one of the most premier trading card grading companies in the world. Collectors send their best cards to the company and they authenticate it, give it an official grade (1-10) and mail it back to the consumer. Having a card graded by PSA fairly drastically increases the value of the item.

The specific Pele card was given a grade of 6.5 While this may seem low and not exactly special, cards from this era are rarely given a higher grade. In fact, this particular copy of the card was the best example of a 1958 Pele rookie card in the company’s history.

Card Images: PWCC.