No buyers found for $466 000 ripped rugby shorts that were once worn by late All Black legend Jonah Lomu.
The unnamed man had intended to donate 50% of the proceeds to two children’s charities, one of them being Ronald McDonald House in Brisbane and the other the Children’s Starship Hospital in Auckland NZ.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent, non-profit organisation that helps seriously ill children and their families when they need it most. The Brisbane property is located adjacent to the Queensland Children’s Hospital and the Mater Hospital.
The shorts and Lomu’s signature on them have been authenticated by the Australian Memorabilia Association. They went on auction on a New Zealand website called Trade Me for 500 000 NZ dollars on Sunday 18 April. However, by the auction’s closure the following Sunday, 25 April they had failed to find a buyer.
Do the shorts come with a gold bar inside?
While the auction drew a lot of casual interest, many people were incredulous at the asking price. “Michael Jordan’s shorts are not even close to that amount,” said one visitor to the auction site. “Do the shorts come with a $499,000 gold bar?” asked another.
Some also pointed out that Lomu’s black 1997 Nissan Patrol wagon with a sound system that was once valued at $100 000NZD was on sale on the same auction website for just under $50 000NZD.
Shorts were found on the sideline by a ball boy
The shorts in question were worn by Lomu in the 1996 inaugural Super 12 Rugby Final, when the Auckland Blues took on the then Natal Sharks at Eden Park in Auckland.
According to information supplied by the current owner, the shorts were ripped from Lomu’s body during a tackle by Springbok Henry Honiball. They were found on the sideline by a ball boy and eventually returned to Lomu, who gifted them to a children’s charity to be sold on auction.
They were, in turn, bought by the Brisbane man in 1996 for $4800NZD. They have since been kept in a bank safety-deposit box.
Lomu died in 2015 from a heart attack linked to his kidney disease.
Big money for the right piece of sports memorabilia
The shorts’ owner now intends to put them up for auction again, but perhaps without a reserve price.
Certain sports memorabilia can sell for enormous prices. Aussie cricketer Sir Donald Bradman’s cap from the 1948 England tour went for $283 000 back in 1983. A jersey once worn by American baseball legend Babe Ruth fetched US$4.4 million in 2012.