BOSTON, MASS.- RR Auction
's Olympic Memorabilia auction chronicles over a century of Olympic history, boasting over 200 lots commemorating the enduring sporting tradition's resolve and spirit with online bidding through January 21.
The sale is highlighted by winner's medals, relay torches, and official badges. Major lots include a super rare winner's medal from the Athens 1896 Olympicsthe first modern Olympiad. Bronze, 50 mm, 60 gm, by Jules Clement Chaplain. 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 detailed 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." Stamped "Bronze" on the edge.
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 medal from the historic debut of the Olympic Games remain exceedingly rarethis being just the second we have ever offeredand are among the most sought-after accolades in the realm of sport.
Also featured among winner's medals; is rare winner's medal issued for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Gilt silver, 85 mm, 430 gm, by David Watkins. 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. The purple ribbon is present but detached at the seam, with "London 2012" and the Olympic rings embroidered in white.
This remarkable Gold winner's medal was awarded to Cuban shooter Leuris Pupo, whose tenacity and perseverance finally paid off after four consecutive Summer Games. Pupo's first Olympic appearance came at the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney, where he finished tied for ninth in the men's 25-meter rapid fire pistol. He competed in the same event at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, and then again at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, where, in both competitions, he finished seventh. After 12 years of Olympic frustration, Pupo's aim was true at London's Royal Artillery Barracks, securing the gold medal by outpointing the field with a final tally of 34 points. Any winner's medals from more recent Olympic Games are extremely scarce and sought-after, with this prodigious London Games prize serving as a truly magnificent example of Olympic grit and triumph.
And a rare Gold winner's medal 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. The front depicts a 'Seated Victory' with the Colosseum in the background; the reverse portrays the Olympic rings over the iconic Sydney Opera House, with the Sydney Olympic torch at right, inscribed below the rings with the athlete's name, and "Athletics / Men's Long Jump" in the upper and lower rim. Complete with the original blue ribbon embroidered in silver with the legend, "Sydney 2000," which is detached at center but could be resewn. Also includes the original round case with metal base and hinged plastic cover.
A longtime rival of Carl Lewis in the long jump event, Iván Pedroso was a four-time world champion and a five-time world indoor champion. This gold medal represents his sole Olympic victory: he had finished in fourth-place at Barcelona in 1992, and injuries contributed to a twelfth-place finish in Atlanta in 1996. Pedroso was considered the best long jumper in the world from 1995 to 2002.
Top torches include Lake Placid 1980 and Calgary 1988; The extremely rare 1980 Lake Placid Olympics torch, comprised of bronze-colored leather and metal, measuring 28.5″ in length and 8.5″ at its widest point, designed by Don McFarland and manufactured by Cleanweld Turner. The torch design and materials symbolized a blend of modern technology and a reference to Ancient Greece. A silver ring at the center of the handle supplies the Lake Placid emblem and text, "XII Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid 1980." The bottom brass ring, which bears some light wear, is engraved with the maker's information, "Cleanweld / Turner, Sycamore, Illinois" and "152." The burner bowl remains in place.
After being lit in Olympia on January 30, the Olympic flame traveled by air to Athens and then to Langley, Virginia, in the United States. The American leg of the relay was 1,600 km and designed to retrace the American Revolution Bicentennial Trail. Only 52 torchbearers participated, including one from every state, plus Washington, D.C., and Lake Placid. The Olympic cauldron was kindled at Lake Placid on February 8. 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 extremely rare and incredibly highly sought after.
The very desirable official 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics torch used during the Olympic relay, comprised of aluminum with a maple handle, measuring 23.5″ in length, emblazoned on the handle with pictograms of ten Winter Olympic sports; tape to lower portion of handle marked "157." The top inscribed with raised text in English and French, "XV Olympic Winter Games Calgary Alberta Canada 1988," with underside of bowl engraved: "COA/A.O.C. 1979-1986"; the ball at the base of the handle is engraved with the Olympic motto, "Citius, Altius, Fortius." Complete with its unlit wick.
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. The torch relay, called 'Share the Flame,' was an enormous event, with approximately 6,500 torchbearers drawn from an application pool of over six million. After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame was flown to Newfoundland and then traveled 18,000 km through Canada over 88 days. Unlike many relays, the torches were shared, and thus only about one hundred and fifty were manufactured.
Also featured is the noteworthy collection of Tug Wilson, an American track and field athlete. He competed in the 1920 Olympics and served as president of the United States Olympic Committee from 1953 to 1965.
The Olympic Memorabilia auction from RR Auction began on January 14 and will conclude January 21.