BOSTON (AP) – When the first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, the winners didn’t get gold medals like they will be later this month when the Tokyo games begin. Instead, they got the silver, while the runners-up got the bronze. There were no medals for third place.
One of those extremely rare first-place silver medals is on sale at an Olympics-themed auction that opens Thursday.
The sale of nearly 200 lots hosted by Boston-based RR Auction also includes a gold medal won by the 1984 US men’s basketball team and several Olympic torches, including one used in the torch relay. of last year before it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Interest is high now as the Tokyo Olympics approach,” said RR Auction executive vice president Bobby Livingston.
The 1896 silver medal is expected to sell for around $ 75,000 given its rarity, Livingston said. Unlike today’s giant games with thousands of athletes and hundreds of events, the 1896 Olympiad brought together around 250 athletes – all men – from just over a dozen nations competing in 10 sports.
A bronze medal from the same year is expected to bring in around $ 40,000.
Unfortunately, who won the medals was lost in time, said Livingston.
Before the United States’ Dream Team of NBA dominated the 1992 men’s basketball tournament, there was the almost equally dominant team of 1984 which included future NBA stars Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing. .
This gold-medalist team led by former Indiana coach Bobby Knight hit a record 8-0, averaged over 95 points per game and kept their opponents averaging around 63 points. per game.
One of those golds, with the multi-colored ribbon, is expected to sell for around $ 70,000, RR Auction said.
“Anything that comes from the United States basketball team – and the 1980 men’s hockey team – is always asking for a lot of interest,” Livingston said.
The medal was presented to the auctioneer by a collector who purchased it directly from a member of the team, but the exact identity of that player remains confidential, Livingston said.
Other items for sale included a gold medal awarded to Swedish wrestler Ivar Johansson at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games and a silver medal won by Bill “Rabbit” Thomson as a member of the Canadian hockey team at the 1936 Winter Games in Garmisch -Partenkirchen, Germany.
Torches for sale include those from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway; the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid; and the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
One of the more unusual items is a 5.2 meter (17 foot) wooden kayak used by Swede Rolf Peterson to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Games in 1964. It will cost you around $ 30,000.