Signed Ayrton Senna 1988 McLaren-Honda Helmet Sells for $102,000 at Auction
It's not even clear if the autograph is legit.
A signed racing helmet worn by three-time Formula 1 world champion Ayrton Senna sold Monday in an online auction for a staggering $102,000.
Senna reportedly wore the helmet during the legendary 1988 season, when he fiercely battled his McLaren-Honda teammate Alain Prost for the championship. So dominant was the combination of Senna, Prost, and their twin McLaren-Honda MP4/4s that McLaren finished 1988 with all but one of the season's Grands Prix won, and nearly as many championship points as the rest of the field combined. Senna emerged the victor in McLaren's intra-team competition with a season-end score of 90 points to Prost's 87, earning him the first of his eventual three world titles.
A relic as emblematic of Senna's dominance as his 1988 helmet, naturally, is worth serious money to collectors of racing memorabilia. Bidders at an online auction for the helmet drove its hammer price to $102,000 on Monday, soaring past the auction consignor RM Sotheby's' estimate of between $50,000 and $80,000.
Such a high price for this helmet is unprecedented, as RM Sotheby's stated that the helmet's signature is "believed to be authentic," though it didn't publicly offer evidence thereof. Even if the signature is a forgery, of course, the helmet's provenance would still make it the crown jewel of almost any motorsport memorabilia collection. It's a shame its new owner can't go racing with it, as its safety ratings expired decades ago. That doesn't mean you can't cram it on your noggin and pretend you're leading the Monaco Grand Prix, of course.
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