Glass Onion Sheffield: Lad who paid £28 for 2004 Michael Schumacher football shirt discovers it's worth £3,000
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A Sheffield man who bought a 2004 Michael Schumacher charity football shirt for £28 has discovered his purchase is actually worth £3,000.
Lee Clapp, aged 28, bought the top from a Glass Onion vintage clothing store after a weird concoction of sponsors and manufacturers sparked his interest.
He said: "I have an interest in retro football shirts. This football shirt was hanging near the door. The sponsor was German, maker was Italian and another sponsor looked Japanese.
"I thought 'for £28 I'll take it and do some research'."
It was evident to Lee even before he purchased it that it was a charity match shirt, due to the Schumacher name on the back and Italian racing references he knew from his time living in Italy.
It was no easy road. For around a year, Lee posted on Reddit communities, contacted the Michael Schumacher Foundation and went to experts on the subject, but no one was able to tell him more than the internet did.
Images and articles online showed Schumacher wearing the shirt during a charity match in Monaco in 2004, following the Monaco Grand Prix that year - so the shirt existed, it just needed verifying it was real.
One of the images online showed Schumacher with another former F1 driver, Maro Engel, who also participated in the match. It prompted Lee to message on social media and try his luck there, unfortunately, Maro didn't respond.
At least, not immediately. Lee attended the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix earlier this year and made the decision to wait outside the VIP entrance, near the famous Eau Rouge corner.
He had seen on social media that Engel was going to be attending the event with Ferrari. He waited until he saw someone entering with a Ferrari pass and told them about the shirt - he asked them to ask Engel to check his social media messages.
Low and behold, whilst Lee was on a fans' coach later that evening, Maro Engel replied.
He told Lee the shirts are not produced for fans to purchase, meaning the one he had in his possession was one of just a handful made for Michael Schumacher for that day.
Lee said: "The players would get two or three shirts made for them in different sizes... [The verification] cemented the year-and-a-half of research I did and it was nice to share that moment with the fans on the coach."
Just to make the evening even better, Lee discovered another of the three shirts made for that day had recently been listed on eBay - for £3,500.
Understandably, the shirt is now framed. Not bad for £28 from a city centre vintage store.
Commenting on the find, Glass Onion (based on Division Street in Sheffield city centre) said: “We process up to 20,000kgs of second hand clothing at our South Yorkshire warehouse every single week, so on occasion items slip through the net and our customers get an absolute steal!
"We’re really happy that an F1 fan found the shirt, without Lee’s knowledge and research, the story of this piece might have never been discovered. Just goes to show you never know what gems might be hiding amongst the rails at our Glass Onion Sheffield store!”