Tom Brady’s ‘final’ TD ball sells for $518K; then QB ‘unretires’

The football that Tom Brady used to throw what was assumed to be the final touchdown pass of his 22-year career sold for more than $518,000 at an auction that ended Saturday. And the timing could not have been better for the consigner.

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On Sunday evening, Brady tweeted that he was coming out of retirement and will play his 23rd NFL season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Twenty-three people bid on the ball that was sold by Lelands. The starting bid on the ball was $100,000, the auction house stated in its auction listing. The final gavel price of $518,628 included a buyer’s premium.

Will the buyer get his money back? Will the seller be out of luck? The ball will still be worth some money, but not as much if Brady throws at least one more touchdown pass.

“Good question, but I do not have an answer right now,” Jordan Gilroy, director of acquisitions for Lelands, told Sports Collectors Daily. “Time will tell.”

In the NFC divisional game on Jan. 23, Brady connected with Mike Evans for a 55-yard touchdown with 3:20 remaining in the game, pulling Tampa Bay within seven points of the Los Angeles Rams at 27-20. Tampa Bay would tie the game, but the Rams won in overtime.

The football was thrown into the crowd by Evans, who did not know that Brady would announce his retirement a week later.

The ball was consigned by the fan who caught it, Sports Collectors Daily reported. The authenticity of the football has been photo matched to the play through MeiGray, a New Jersey-based sports collectibles and sportswear business.

“We stayed for the whole game and I just kind of held it like a baby and we watched them come back and lose,” the seller, who wished to remain anonymous, told ESPN. “We stood around for a while while the players walked off the field, then I tucked it in my jacket and we just walked out like normal. Nobody came up to us or anything.”

Brady’s first touchdown pass, to New England Patriots receiver Terry Glenn more than 20 years ago, was auctioned off by Lelands for $428,841 last year, according to Sports Collectors Daily.

The ball was one of the key items in Lelands’ Classic Auction. A copy of Brady’s 2000 Playoff Contender rookie card sold for $1,309,722, according to the auction listing.