***This post was written using information from ESPN.com***
In June 2014, Sean and Rikki McEvoy found a sweater at a Goodwill store in Asheville, North Carolina, that they thought was cool. They purchased it for 58 cents and had no idea what they had just stumbled upon. It was a gray wool sweater with "West Point" written on the front, and the name "Lombardi" sewn on a cotton swatch inside. It turned out to be owned and worn by Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches of all time.
The historic Lombardi sweater was auctioned off in New York City by Heritage Auctions for $43,020 on February 21, 2015. The buyer wished to remain anonymous. The sweater was owned by Lombardi when he coached from 1949 to 1953, and it was donated to Goodwill by Ann Wannamaker, the widow of Bill Wannamaker, who coached with Lombardi at Army.
Sean and Rikki McEvoy were not aware of the value of the sweater when they purchased it, and they initially thought it was a basketball warm-up. It was not until Sean saw a documentary about Lombardi that he realized the significance of the sweater. He then contacted the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but eventually found Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
The sweater was authenticated by uniform authentication company Mears, and after national publicity, online bidding drove the price up to $20,000. The winning bid of $36,000 came in by phone, and with a 19.5 percent buyer's premium, the final price was $43,020.
Goodwill won't come out as a loser in this story, as Heritage Auctions is donating nearly $4,000 to Goodwill from the money it collects from the seller. Vince Lombardi Jr. expressed his hope that whoever owns the sweater will treasure it, and Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage, said that this tale supplies both the joys of owning a relic of true historical significance and the unexpected discovery of something believed to have been lost.
For Sean and Rikki McEvoy, they made more than 50,000 times their investment, but what is more important to them is that the sweater now lives on in a collection. As Sean said, "There's a chance if I don't buy that it sits there and the next stop is it getting ground up into a rag."
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