The $518,000 sale of the game ball used in the “final” touchdown pass by the now non-retired Tom Brady has been canceled by mutual agreement between the buyer, consignee and auction house, according to Lelands Auctions.
Due to the unique nature of Brady’s decision to return 40 days after announcing his retirement in late January – and less than 24 hours after the auction closed, no less – no money was exchanged, so the deal was simply cancelled, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
“We wanted to do the right thing here,” said Mike Heffner, chairman and partner of Lelands, adding that even though the original buyer has backed out, the consignee of the ball still plans to sell it privately via Lelands.
“It’s probably the most unique situation we’ll encounter in our lifetime, at least when it comes to sports memorabilia. We’re not at the end of the book yet, we’ve written a chapter.”
Even after the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s return to the Buccaneers and the resulting drop in value of the ball, Heffner says several potential buyers still reached out to buy it.
“It’s still an amazing piece of history,” Heffner said. “Any Brady touchdown ball is.”
It took a month to officially announce the canceled sale as all parties involved waited to see if Brady would remain unretired. According to Lelands, once the buyer and shipper were contacted, the delay was due to wanting to confirm Brady’s status.
“All parties were waiting to see how it would go,” Heffner said. “Tom Brady, let’s face it, is a bit unpredictable these days. Until he throws his first touchdown pass in September, that ball is still the record.”