A 1956 Stockholm torch fetched the second-highest price for an Olympic torch at auction.
The rare collectible sold for $473,800 ($412,500 plus 15 percent buyer’s premium) in a recent mail bid auction conducted by Ingrid O’Neil.
The record is held by a 1952 Helsinki torch, which sold in a Paris auction in 2011 for $480,000 (290,000 Euro, plus fees).
A Jesse Owens gold medal is still the all-time leader for an Olympic collectible. It fetched $1,466,574 in an auction late last year.
O’Neil, who is based in California, tells Around the Rings that three bidders vied for the Stockholm torch, which had an estimate of $175,000.
"It’s the rarity," O’Neil says. She says fewer than 10 are known and two are in the Olympic museum in Stockholm. There are 22 original Helsinki torches.
A gold medal and diploma won by pairs figure skater Ernst Baier at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Olympics went for $80,500, including commission. Two bidders took the lot well above its estimate of $55,000.
A 10-year-old copy of the Breal Cup awarded to 1896 marathon winner Spiridon Louis sold for $31,625. It was one of seven made, including one given to Pope John Paul II.
A silver medal from the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics went for $18,975 while a gold medal in bobsled from the 1976 Innsbruck Games fetched $17,825.
The 2000 Sydney gold medal purportedly won by Alvin Harrison of the United States in the 4 x 400-meter relay sold for $16,445. The United States was subsequently disqualified from the event after a team member admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. An IOC spokeswoman tells ATR that Harrison returned his medal to the IOC.
A 1980 Moscow gold won by Lyudmila Kondratyeva of the Soviet Union in the 100-meter dash went for $14,375 while a gold medal for baseball from the 2004 Athens Olympics ended up at $12,017. Even an unawarded 1984 Los Angeles gold medal finished at $10,924. A 1972 Munich gold won by Vadim Guyayev of the Soviet Union in water polo was a relative bargain at $9,775.
Written by Karen Rosen
20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.