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Fan buys Tom Brady's "last" touchdown football for $518,628 — then Brady unretires

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Posted at 2:42 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 16:51:59-04

An unknown fan paid more than half a million dollars for the last football Tom Brady threw in an NFL game before retiring last season. But the ball has now lost much of its value after the 44-year-old athlete announced Sunday that he is returning to professional football, experts said.

The football sold for $518,628 on Saturday through New Jersey auction company Lelands, with the high price driven in part by the belief that it was used for what would be the last touchdown pass ever thrown by one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Roughly 24 hours after the auction closed, Brady announced via Twitter that he would return to the NFL, marking a tough break for the winning bidder.

"The ball is worth a lot less now," sports memorabilia expert David Kohler told CBS MoneyWatch, adding that once Brady throws another touchdown, the ball's value will be "a fraction of what it was worth."

It's unclear if the auction winner intended to keep the football or sell it for a higher price later. Lelands declined to identify the winning bidder.

"I just hate to be the guy who paid $500,000 for Tom Brady's last touchdown pass," CBS Sports host Adam Zucker told CBS News.

Brady is the only quarterback in history to win a championship over age 40 with two NFL different teams. He has won seven NFL championships and appeared in 10 Super Bowls over a span of 22 seasons. Brady also has thrown the most touchdown passes of any player in league history and has been selected Super Bowl MVP five times.

Brady used the football sold at auction on January 23 in Tampa, Florida, to throw a 55-yard touchdown pass to teammate Mike Evans during a playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams. After scoring, Evans threw the ball into the stands at Raymond James Stadium. A person in the crowd caught the ball and decided to auction it.

"If Evans had not tossed it into the stands, it would still be in the possession of the Buccaneers and would never be offered publicly," Lelands wrote in its listing for the football.

Brady's sports memorabilia has a history for selling at high prices. For example, an autographed rookie card of Brady sold last June at auction for $3.1 million. The football used to complete his first career touchdown sold for more than $400,000 last May.