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  • Grenoble Torch, Beijing Gold Medal Highlight Auction


    (ATR) Proving there is no shortage of eager bidders for Olympic memorabilia, one of 33 Grenoble torches will sell for at least $200,000 in the latest Ingrid O’Neil auction.
    Grenoble Olympic torch for sale (O'Neil Auctions)

    The torch attracted its opening bid soon after the auction went online. The 467-lot sale closes Saturday night.

    While the torch is undoubtedly rare, examples are no stranger to the auction block. A torch set to be auctioned in January by RR Auction will be the seventh in seven years.

    “I would think that people hear about the high prices and decide to sell them,” O’Neil told Around the Rings.

    In October 2012, one sold for $247,500. Two sold within 10 days in France in January 2014, one without a burner for about $100,000 and the other for about $136,000.

    Ten months ago, a Paris auction house sold a Grenoble torch for about $250,000. Later this year, another torch that did not have a cloth band or any logos went for $100,000, O’Neil said.

    If the $200,000 bid holds in the current auction, the total will be $230,000 with commission.

    Beijing soccer gold medal (O'Neil Auctions)
    Among other highlights in the O’Neil auction, a hand-written two-page letter written by Pierre de Coubertin in 1929 is now at $1,300.

    A 2008 Beijing gold medal for men’s soccer, awarded to an athlete from Argentina, has a bid for $35,000 while there were no bids by mid-day Wednesday for a 1928 St. Moritz gold medal won by Norwegian skier Johan Groettumsbraatan. The minimum for that medal is also $35,000.

    Besides a large number of winners’ medals, O’Neil also offers an abundance of badges including, she said, “badges I have never seen before.”

    These include a 1972 Munich badge marked OBG for the Olympic construction company, which is now at $1,700, well above its minimum of $1,000.

    “I would say it’s only the top people at the company that got one,” O’Neil said. “Otherwise we would have seen it before.”

    Written by Karen Rosen

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