An All Blacks jersey gifted to late actor Robin Williams by rugby great Jonah Lomu has sold at auction for close to NZ$6000.
The framed jersey – signed by the 1998 All Blacks team – was one of 310 items up for auction at Sotheby’s.
The proceeds from the auction will go to the Muhammad Ali Foundation.
The Lomu jersey far exceeded the expected sale price of $300-$500 and made more than a Cleveland Cavaliers NBA singlet signed by LeBron James and the yellow jersey Lance Armstrong wore during his 2001 Tour de France win. James’ jersey went for $US2750 (NZ$4724) while Armstrong’s jersey fetched $US2750 (NZ$4724).
The auction titled “Creating a Stage: The Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams” raised a total of US$6,088,250, with the highest selling item – Banksy’s ‘Happy Choppers’ – garnering $US735,000.
Lomu and Williams first met at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel in 1998 for a promotion.
Organised by the New Zealand Rugby Union, the promotion brought together two of the brightest stars from their respective fields and started a lasting friendship.
The pair reportedly spent more than two hours together after initially being scheduled for a 30-minute meeting.
“The two became fast friends, and were known to have exchanged gifts with one another over the course of their friendship,” the Sotheby’s catalogue notes read.
“He gave me a couple of All Black caps and I wear them around America. People say, ‘What’s that team, brother?’ and I say, ‘The All Blacks,’ and they go, ‘Okay, that’s cool’,” Williams said in 1999.
Lomu penned a letter to Williams’ memory after the actor took his own life in August 2014 aged 63.
“You made me laugh even when you weren’t even trying to, you were a warm, caring man and funny as hell! Our thoughts are with your friends and family at this time and there is a world of us that will miss you my friend. Till we meet again for more laughs,” wrote Lomu.
Lomu would pass away following a heart attack one year later.
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