Top 10: Olympic Games memorabilia



2015-06-26 10:28:46

10) Grenoble 1968 torch - €190,000 ($247,500)

Supposedly one of only 33 winter 1968 torches made. This item was sold at Vassy-Jalenques SARL (Paris) auction of October 11, 2012.

9) tie: 2 items from the 1980 Lake Placid hockey team - $262,900: (1) Hockey stick of Mike Eruzione in the "Miracle on Ice" game; sold at Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2013, New York City); and (2) the gold medal of teammate Mark Pavelich, sold May 17, 2014 also be Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

8) Blue hockey jersey of Mike Eruzione's gold medal game - $286,800

Worn in the 1980 gold medal game v. Finland. Sold at Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2013, New York City)

7) Mark Wells’ Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Gold Medal - $310,700

The gold medal won by Mark Wells, a member of the 1980 "miracle on ice" men's hockey team, was sold by Heritage Auctions in November 2010 for $310,700. Originally estimated to sell for $100,000, the medal was the first time any of the 1980 hockey gold medals were offered at a public auction.

6) Helsinki 1952 Olympic Torch - €290,000 ($360,000)

Another of the 22 existing examples, a torch from the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games sold for €290,000 by Vassy-Jalenques SARL of Paris in April 2011. These torches possess a sterling silver bowl and birch-wood handle, and are highly coveted by Olympic memorabilia collectors.

5) Chinese Olympic gold coin? - $575,000

A Chinese 10kg gold 100,000 Yuan coin, made to commemorate the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was sold by Heritage Auction Galleries for $575,000 in January 2011. Only 29 examples of the coin were minted and this was the only one allocated to the US market.

4) "Miracle on Ice" jersey of 1980 US captain Mike Eruzione - $$657,250

The jersey worn by the team captain in the momentous semi-final game vs. the USSR, which the USA team won 4-3. Jersey sold at Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2013. (NOTE: the Mike Eruzione items jersey for the US-USSR game was just one of 5 sets of Mike Eruzione Lake Placid 1980 memorabilia. Items part of that batch but not on this top 10 list are: gloves worn throughout the tournament - $53,775; red pants - $28,680; and a warm-up suit - $26,290. Combined total of Mike Eruzione items of the February 23, 2013: $1.3 million +)

3) Bréal’s Silver Cup - £541,250 ($861,129)

The second most expensive item of Olympics memorabilia sold is the special decorative silver cup awarded to Greek marathon runner Spyridon Louis as a prize for winning the first marathon race at Athens 1896, the first Olympic Games of the Modern Era. The cup had previously been in the possession of Louis' heirs and was sold for £541,250 at Christie’s in April 2012 to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The cup is one of a kind item, created and designed by French philologist Michel Breal, after whom it was named. Breal was an academic colleague of modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin and it was he who supposedly suggested to Coubertin and the 1896 Athens Organizing Committee to create the first marathon race and include it in the Games. The artifact is presently on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens until September 2013. After that, it will reside permanently in a new cultural center to be built by the Niarchos Foundation in Athens, and to open in 2015.

2) Wladimir Klitschko's 1996 gold medal ($1,000,000)

Second most expensive piece of Olympics memorabilia sold is the Atlanta 1996 gold medal of Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko, which was sold for charity. The medal was sold to a Ukrainian millionaire for a reputed $1 million in March 2012 in Kiev, the Ukraine. The funds went to the Klitschko Brothers' charitable Foundation.

1) one Jesse Owens' Berlin 1936 Olympic gold medal ($1,466,574)

The one remaining known gold medal that Jesse Owens won in Berlin 1936 which the athlete supposedly gave to entertainer William "Bojangles' Robinson as thanks for helping Owens find work in the entertainment industry after he returned from Berlin. The medal was sold by the estate of Robinson's late widow, Elaine Plaines-Robinson. Bought by the Pittsburgh Penguins' (hockey pro team) co-owner Ron Burkle. The medal is unmarked for which event Owens won it since the Berlin 1936 organizers did not individually engrave the medals then. The online auction was conducted by SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel, California. Sold December 8, 2013.

(There is a cloud of suspicion on the provenance of this medal because per Olympic historians, Jesse Owens' four original 1936 medals were last seen at exhibition in 1960 and were stolen at same. The USOC then asked the German Olympic Committee for replacements; and they obliged by asking the Pforzheim Artistic Mint which had forged the original Berlin medals to recreate four. The replacement medals now reside with the Jesse Owens Collection at Ohio State University.

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