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  • Greenspan Olympic Honors at Auction


    Greenspan with one of his Emmys. His Olympic Order pin adorns a lapel. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) TV awards for Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan – as well as his Olympic Order and diploma – are highlights of the 67th memorabilia auction by Ingrid O’Neil.

    Another lot features a complete set of Summer and Winter participation medals.

    The 620-lot mail bid and internet auction, which closes Nov. 12, can be seen online at

    “Everybody knows Bud Greenspan,” O’Neil tells Around the Rings.
    Greenspan, who died at age 84 in December 2010 of Parkinson’s disease, was awarded the Olympic Order in silver in 1985 by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

    “He chronicled the history of the Olympic Movement… keeping alive the flame of Olympism for thousands of athletes and millions of spectators,” said Samaranch in making the award.

     The estimate on the lot is $7,500, which includes the diploma and silver wreath collar, but not the pin which Greenspan wore on his lapel. That will remain with Greenspan’s companion, Nancy Beffa.

    “He proudly wore his Olympic pin every day,” she said.

    Like an Olympic medal for athletes, the Emmy Award is the highest honor given for television excellence in the U.S. Four of Greenspan’s Emmy Awards are up for auction. The first is for The Olympiad Series (1976-77), which he produced with his wife, Cappy, as executive producer. Both trophies are in one lot for an estimate of $10,000.

    The others are for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games Lake Placid, Lillehammer ’94 and a 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. Each award carries an estimate of $6,500.

    Participation Medal Bonanza

    Olympic collectors may spend years compiling a complete set of participation medals. O’Neil is offering a complete set of 26 Summer and 21 Winter Games medals, including  rarer medals such as 1904 St. Louis – which can sell for more than $20,000 alone – as well as 1924 Chamonix and 1956 Stockholm. The minimum bid is $99,000, plus a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

    “I have never seen a complete collection offered anywhere,” O’Neil says. “I would say it might be a good chance for a sponsor to obtain the set.”

    Other rare lots include a 1906 Athens trophy of Hermes carrying the world which was presented to Greek athlete Georgos Aliprantis for winning the gold medal in rope climbing. The estimate is $25,000.

    “It’s absolutely gorgeous,” O’Neil says of the trophy, which stands 64.2 cm (25.3 inches high).

    A rare athletes badge from the 1924 Chamonix Olympics has an estimate of $9,000.

    There is a wide assortment of winners medals and torches as well, including 1968 Mexico City gold and silver medals for swimming in their original cases. The gold has an estimate of $12,500 and the silver is $10,500. Winning bidders will be told the name of the athletes.

    O’Neil is also offering a presentation set of gold, silver and bronze (unawarded) Atlanta winners medals for $12,500.

    A possibly unique item is a Berlin Olympic bell with an inscription that says it was made from the same metal as the massive Olympic Bell on the Reichsportfeld. “The German collector who sent it said he had never seen one in his life,” O’Neil says. The bell, which weighs 1.4 pounds and stands 9 cm (3.5 inches) high, has an estimate of $750.

    Written by Karen Rosen.

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