Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Best memorabilia raises thousands

England jersey from estate of Dickie Best
The England Number 3 jersey was either swapped with Bobby Thompson in 1964 or Ray Wilson in 1965

A replica European Cup marking one of George Best's career highlights has sold for £2,600 in an auction of his memorabilia.

A collection of photographs, football shirts and other items signed by the soccer star were all sold off on Thursday night.

George Best died in 2005 and the 110 items on sale belonged to his father Dickie, who died last year aged 88.

Richard Bell of Wilsons Auctions said there had been global attention.

"We had bidders register from North America, Australia and beyond," he said.

"That said, local fans still secured the majority of lots and I am delighted that most of the memorabilia will remain in the province.

"People here have a real affinity with George Best and it is only right that much of this memorabilia stays in Northern Ireland.

"It was a real privilege to see local fans bid to own part of a local hero's legacy."

Dickie Best stipulated in his will that both the family home at Burren Way in the Cregagh estate in east Belfast and its contents be sold on his death.

Auctioneer Richard Bell
Auctioneer Richard Bell said they had received international interest in the items

Some of the items were brought back for Dickie by George as souvenirs of his international soccer career while others were collected by the devoted dad as he tracked his son's rise to stardom.

The miniature replica of the European Cup commemorating the Manchester United star's goal in the 1968 final triumph against Benfica, presented to Dickie as a memento, was undoubtedly the highlight of the sale.

Other notable collector pieces included a letter opener presented to the forward to mark his two goals in another stunning victory over Benfica, two years before the European Cup final.

Best's two goals in Portugal that night in 1966 earned him the nickname "El Beatle" and the gift commemorating the event sold for £900.

Items also included a 1970 George Best annual, retailing at 80p, or 16 shillings in old money, featuring advice columns of advice from Bobby Charlton as well as George's experience of getting poison pen letters while building a house in Cheshire.

A separate auction of sports memorabilia was held immediately after the Dickie Best Collection and some of the items included were donated to charity.

One bidder managed to secure a framed England No 3 jersey with original George Best signature for £500.

A framed one millionth edition of The George Best Ulster Bank £5 note, presented to Dickie by the Ulster Bank, sold for £2,300

Mr Bell added: "We also managed to raise a substantial amount for the George Best Foundation on the night - George always did bring out the best in people, especially here in Northern Ireland."

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