Lot 3046: Extraordinary winner's medal awarded to boxer Wilbert McClure as champion of the light middleweight division. Gilt silver, 68 mm, 102 gm, Giuseppe Cassioli, Florence. The front depicts a victorious athlete being carried by a jubilant crowd; the reverse, inscribed, "Giochi Della XVII Olimpiade Roma MCMLX," features a 'Seated Victory' with the Colosseum in the background. The medal is set in its original cast bronze olive leaf chain, inscribed at the bottom with the name of the sport in Italian, "Pugilato." Complete with original presentation box; the cover, interior padding, and some sides of the box are detached or loose. Includes a cardstock 10 x 8 photo of McClure with his fellow American 1960 Olympic boxing champions, Cassius Clay and Eddie Crook, signed and inscribed in gold ink by McClure, "To Dick R., Thanks, Skeeter." This medal was obtained directly from McClure in 2002 and this is the first time it has been publicly offered.
A boxer's son, McClure began sparring at thirteen, won two Golden Gloves, two AAUs, and caught the attention of young Muhammad Ali himself. Though fighting with a busted right hand since his first Olympic match, by the fourth and final fight against Italian boxer Carmelo Bossi, McClure won a 4-1 decision to join fellow Americans Cassius Clay and Eddie Crook on the medal podium. The following year, 'Skeeter' went pro for a career that lasted until 1970. This is an absolutely remarkable Olympic medal in all respects; in addition to its importance as a 1960 boxing gold medal, it holds a place in the history of the prize itself. The winner's medals issued for the 1960 Rome Olympics were the first designed to be worn around the neck and the first for any Summer Games to feature the name of the specific sport. As a gold medal for boxing, this is also the same exact type of medal awarded to Cassius Clay for his first-place finish in the light heavyweight division. Only ten of these "Pugilato" medals were awarded across the ten weight classes competing in 1960 Olympics. Between its tremendous rarity and historical interest, this museum-quality medal represents the pinnacle of Olympic artifacts.
RR Auction's Olympic Memorabilia Auction 468
Thursday, 21st January 2016
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