(ATR) The one-of-kind trophy awarded to Spiridon Louis for winning the first Olympic marathon has fetched a record price of £541,250 (approximately $868,000) and will stay in Greece.
Spiridon Louis won the Breal’s Silver Cup by finishing first in the marathon at the 1896 Athens Olympics. (Christie's)
The silver cup, which stands about 6 inches tall (15 cm), was bought by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at Thursday’s auction by Christie’s, which had estimated its value at £120,000 to £160,000 ($192,000-$256,000). The record price includes the buyer’s premium.
Christie's said the previous record price for a piece of Olympic memorabilia was a 1952 Helsinki Olympics torch, which sold last year for £239,000 ($382,000).
The Breal’s Silver Cup had been in the Louis family since 1896 and was sold by Louis’ namesake grandson. It will go on permanent display at a cultural center in 2015. A temporary site to display the prize is being sought.
The Harold Abrahams collection, amassed by the "Chariots of Fire" icon, fetched £39,650 ($63,500), while a 1908 London lithograph went for £15,000 ($24,000).
Amid the frenzy, an example of a 1936 Berlin torch sold for £6,250 ($10,000). Two similar torches went for about $3,500 each on eBay in the last couple of weeks.
New Olympin Website
The Olympin Collectors Club, the world’s largest club devoted to Olympic memorabilia aficionados, has revamped its website
. The non-profit club, which was formed in 1982, has 500-plus members in more than 30 countries.
The new site features a photo slidehow from the 2011 World Olympic Collectors Fair. (Olympin)
Webmaster Mark Maestrone has included news from the collecting world, as well as resources such as a “Guide to Pin Collecting” and descriptions of each area of Olympic collecting. There is also a section called “Ask the Experts” in which anyone can ask questions about identification, authenticity, where to acquire items, etc.
Members can log into a special area where they have their own profile page, which they can update with new collecting interests and even a photo. The search function allows members to search for others with similar interests.
Countdown Pin Popular
The official “100 Days To Go” countdown pin sold out in hours, Roger Minzhe Yin, Chief Executive of Honav UK, tells Around the Rings
. The pin, dated April 18, was issued in a limited edition of 2,012. Another 100 Days countdown pin has mascot Wenlock breaking the tape.
A different 100 Days to Go pin with Wenlock and the London logo, which is licensed by the U.S. Olympic Committee and made by pin manufacturer Aminco, is easily available on eBay.
Rare Items in Swedish Auction
A pair of extremely rare pattern participation medals from the never-held 1940 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Olympics highlight the latest mail bid auction from Ulf Strom, who is based in Stockholm. The 152-item auction closes April 27.
One of the cast bronze medals is for competitors and the other is for judges and officials. They carry an estimate of $17,500 for the pair. Only two pieces of each were made in bronze, and according to Strom, “The other 'DEM TEILNEHMER' medal is in an important Olympic memorabilia collection, which would make this the only pair available on the market.”
Strom is also offering the seldom-seen 1908 Comite D’ Honneur Badge that is gold-colored and with red enamel (another variety is silver and blue) with an estimage of $15,000. It has provenance from Ivar Nyholm, secretary General of the Danish National Olympic Committee and an IOC member from 1922 to 1931.
Big Show in Atlanta
The first major international collectibles show after the London Olympics will be held in downtown Atlanta from Sept. 28 to 30. The show is the annual event sponsored by Olympin, and Atlanta previously hosted in 2006 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Centennial Games.
Atlanta last hosted in 2006. (Olympin)
Admission to the show at the Hyatt Regency hotel is free, and the cost of a table is $100. Dealers from outside North America will get their first table free.
Four-time Olympic diving gold medalist Pat McCormick will speak at a show dinner on Sept. 28. McCormick, who is the only woman ever to win double gold medals in diving in back-to-back Games (1952-1956), will also sign autographs during the show. On Sept. 29, a reception and charity auction will be held at the Hard Rock Café, which is also donating items for the auction.
For more information or to register for a table, click here
Aquatics History and Show
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will hold a collectors show in conjunction with the inaugural International Aquatics History Symposium and Film Festival from May 9 to 12.
Longtime collector Craig Perlow is organizing the Olympic and Aquatic Sports Collectors Show and will speak at the symposium. Tables will be free and selling will be allowed. Perlow says several Olympic medalists are expected to appear and sign autographs.
For information, click here
. To register for a table, contact Perlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (770) 416-9802.
The AT&T/USA Diving Grand Prix will be held during the event, which culminates with the ISHOF 2012 Induction Ceremony. Table holders at the show will be able to receive a 40 percent discount on the price of a ticket to the banquet.
1904 Items in Auction
Perlow is also conducting an online auction this month with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the hall of fame and its programs. Among the 15 items are two major pieces from the 1904 Olympics that belonged to Otto Wahle of Austria, a 1996 ISHOF inductee as a “Pioneer Swimmer/Contributor.” They are a participation medal (opening bid of $17,000) and a bronze winner’s medal without its ribbon ($3,000).
A Beijing 2008 poster called "The Touch .01" – produced from the original photograph taken by legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Heinz Kluetmeier and autographed by gold medalist Michael Phelps and silver medalist Milorad Cavic of Serbia – has a minimum bid of $500. A 1956 swimming participants badge from Valerie Gyenge of Hungary, a 1976 ISHOF inductee, has a starting price of $450, while a complete set of seven Mark Spitz trading cards begins at $5.
The auction, which closes at 5 p.m. EDT on April 30, is at www.olympianartifacts.com
Written by Karen Rosen
For general comments or questions, click here
20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.