Competition keen for RR Auction’s Olympics sale Jan. 21


Won by a Cuban shootist, this gold medal from the 2012 London Summer Olympics should hit the $50,000 mark. RR Auction image

BOSTON – RR Auction‘s Olympic Memorabilia auction that concludes Thursday, Jan. 21, chronicles over a century of Olympic history, boasting over 200 lots commemorating the enduring sporting tradition’s resolve and spirit. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

The sale is highlighted by winner’s medals, relay torches and official badges. Major lots include a rare bronze winner’s medal from the Athens 1896 Olympics – the first modern Olympiad. The front depicts a relief portrait of Zeus holding Nike, the goddess of victory, in the palm of his hand, with text along left side, “Olympia.” The reverse bears a view of the Acropolis of Athens topped by the Parthenon, with raised Greek characters to upper and lower portion (translated), “International Olympic Games in Athens, 1896.”


Designed by Jules Clement Chaplain, the Athens 1896 Olympics bronze winner’s medal (for second place) is expected to sell for $40,000 or more. RR Auction image

At the inaugural modern Olympiad, first-place winners were awarded silver medals, and second-place finishers earned these bronze prizes; there was no award for a third-place result. Any winner’s medals from the historic debut of the Olympic Games remain rare – this being just the second RR Auction has ever offered – and are among the most sought-after accolades in the realm of sport.

Also featured among the sale’s medals is a rare gold winner’s medal issued for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The front of the medal features text across the top, “XXX Olympiad London 2012,” above the winged Nike over Panathinaikon Stadium with the Acropolis in the background. The reverse features the emblem of the London Games against an abstract linear background. The event, “Shooting, Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol,” is engraved along the bottom edge of the medal. This winner’s medal was awarded to Cuban shooter Leuris Pupo, whose tenacity and perseverance finally paid off after four consecutive Summer Games.

Another gold winner’s medal offered in the RR Auction was issued to Cuban long jumper Iván Pedroso at the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. Gilt silver, 68 mm, 188 gm, by Wojciech Pietranik and Brian Thompson; manufactured by the Royal Australian Mint. A longtime rival of Carl Lewis in the long jump event, Pedroso was a four-time world champion and a five-time world indoor champion. Pedroso is considered the best long jumper in the world from 1995 to 2002, yet this gold medal represents his sole Olympic victory.


Cuban long jumper Iván Pedroso won this gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. It is estimated at $20,000-$30,000. RR Auction image

Among the top torches is a Lake Placid 1980 and Calgary 1988. The rare 1980 Lake Placid Olympics torch, composed of bronze-colored leather and metal, measures 28.5 inches in length with the burner bowl in place. The torch was designed by Don McFarland and manufactured by Cleanweld Turner, Sycamore, Ill.


The 1980 Lake Placid Olympics torch (est. $35,000-$40,000). RR Auction image

A mere 140 torches were manufactured for the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, one of the smallest production runs for any Olympic torch. They are therefore rare and highly sought after.


Emblazoned on the handle of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics torch are pictograms of 10 Winter Olympic sports (est. $25,000-$30,000). RR Auction image

The desirable official 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics torch used during the Olympic relay, composed of aluminum with a maple handle, measures 23.5 inches in length and includes the original black carrying bag and a highly appealing official torchbearer relay suit of the Calgary Games by Sun Ice of Canada. Designed by the National Research Council of Canada, the torch was made to resemble the Calgary Tower, an iconic landmark in the Canadian city. Unlike many relays, the torches were shared and thus only about 150 were manufactured.

Also featured is the noteworthy collection of Tug Wilson, an American track and field athlete who competed in the 1920 Olympics and went on to serve as president of the United States Olympic Committee from 1953 to 1965.


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