Jesse Owens gold goes for $1.47M
A gold medal awarded to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin sold for $1,466,574 early Sunday morning, the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.
The price paid shattered the previous record of $865,000 paid last April for a silver cup won by the winner of the first modern-day Olympic marathon in 1896. It also sold for nearly five times the highest price previously paid for a gold medal won by a member of the U.S Olympic team -- Mark Wells' gold from the 1980 ice hockey team sold for $310,700 in 2010.
SCP Auctions said Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle won the medal.
The auction house said Burkle, who also owns William Faulkner's Nobel Prize for literature, has plans for an educational tour of the historic pieces. He wasn't available for comment Sunday.
The Los Angeles billionaire investor's holdings include retail, food and entertainment companies.
The Owens gold medal was consigned to SCP Auctions by the estate of Elaine Plaines-Robinson, the wife of entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, a close friend of Owens who died in 1949.
"We are honored to handle what we consider to be among the most inspiring sports artifacts ever offered at auction," said SCP president David Kohler. "Worldwide attention garnered by the auction of Jesse Owens 1936 Gold medal and the extraordinary auction result proves that Owens' triumphant legacy continues to endure."
Since neither the medal nor what it was stored in had any markings, it is not clear which gold medal this is.
Owens, who was 23 at the time, famously won four gold medals, in the 100- and 200-meter dash, the long jump and as a member of the 4x100 meter relay team, with Hitler looking on as host of the Games. It is unclear where the other three originals are, as the four gold medals from these Games that reside at Ohio State, where Owens attended college, are replacement medals. The German government had them made after Owens was said to have lost his originals.
Other top items that sold in the SCP Auction included a Jackie Robinson bat believed to have been used in the 1955 World Series ($128,617), Goose Gossage's 1978 Yankees World Series ring ($66,734), a Muhammad Ali robe from a 1976 fight ($60,667), and Shane Victorino's grand slam ball from Game 6 of this year's ALCS ($18,840).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.