LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – SCP Auctions’ “Mid-Summer Classic” online auction runs through Sat., Aug. 22. The auction features nearly 1,000 different lots of vintage sports memorabilia. Among the most intriguing is a 1936 Winter Olympics gold medal that was presented to Great Britain hockey goaltender Jimmy Foster.
That year, the fourth Winter Olympic Games were held in the neighboring villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen in Germany’s Bavarian Alps. Star attractions included a pair of Norwegians named Ivar Ballangrud, who won three individual gold medals in men’s speed skating, and Sonja Henie, who won her third straight gold medal in in women’s figure skating. But as the games unfolded, the story generating the most interest was of Great Britain, which won its only Olympic gold medal in ice hockey. The squad’s star oalie, 31-year-old Jimmy Foster, allowed just three goals over seven games and posted four shutouts. In addition to winning the gold medal, the Brits stopped Canada’s undefeated Olympic winning streak at 20 games with a 2-1 victory.
Now up for bid is Foster’s gold medal from the ’36 Games, which boasted the largest and heaviest medals ever awarded to Olympic athletes: 100 millimeters in diameter and 4 millimeters thick with a weight of 324 grams.
“It’s extremely rare that we see an Olympic hockey artifact of this magnitude come up for auction,” said Dan Imler, vice president of SCP Auctions. “Jimmy Foster’s 1936 gold medal represents the epic underdog tale of one of Great Britain’s greatest Olympic victories.”
Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1905, Foster and his family immigrated seven years later to Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba, Canada. He first rose to prominence as a hockey player in the early ’20s while competing in the Winnipeg Junior Hockey League. Playing with both the Winnipeg Argonauts and later the University of Manitoba, Foster earned a reputation as one of the world’s finest goalies.
In 1934, Foster decided to return to the United Kingdom for the first time in more than 20 years, turning his back on the NHL. He spent the next two seasons competing in southwest London for the Richmond Hawks.
Following his remarkable performance in Garmisch, Foster assisted Britain in retaining the European titles in 1937 and 1938, but returned to Winnipeg in 1939, where he died of cancer in 1969 at the age of 63.
Online bidding is open to registered bidders only. The auction is being conducted at www.scpauctions.com. For more information, call 949-831-3700.