Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this Nov. 19, 2013 photo, Dan Imler of SCP Auctions shows Jessie Owens gold medal from the 1936 Olympics at the SCP Auctions in Laguna Nigel, Calif. One of the four Olympic gold medals won by track and field star Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games is set to go on the auction block. SCP Auctions says the medal could sell for upward of $1 million in the online auction that runs from through Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Raquel Dillon)
Owens’ Olympic gold medal sells for record $1.4M
First Published Dec 08 2013 01:44 pm • Last Updated Dec 08 2013 01:44 pm

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. • An Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games has sold for a record $1.4 million in an online auction.

SCP Auctions said Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle paid $1,466,574, the highest price for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. The online auction ended Sunday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We just hope that it’s purchased by an institution where the public could have access to it, a museum or something like that," Owens’ daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin of Chicago, told The Associated Press before the sale.

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.

Owens won gold in the 100- and 200-meters, 400 relay and long jump at the games attended by Adolf Hitler, who used the Olympics to showcase his ideas of Aryan supremacy.

According to the auction house based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., the medal is unidentifiable to a specific event. It said Owens gave the medal to his friend, dancer and movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, as thanks for helping Owens find work in entertainment after he returned from Berlin.

The medal was sold by the estate of Robinson’s late widow, Elaine Plaines-Robinson. SCP Auctions Vice President Dan Imler said the Owens family confirmed the medal is original; the whereabouts of the other three is unknown.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the medal will be donated to the Jesse Owens Foundation. The Robinson family had declined to comment on the auction, but Imler said they also plan to use the proceeds to pay college tuition.

Last month, IOC President Thomas Bach told the AP that the Owens medal is "a part of world heritage."


story continues below
story continues below

"(It has) an importance far beyond the sporting achievements of Jesse Owens, which is part of world history," Bach said. "To put this up for an auction is for me a very difficult decision (to accept)."

The record price for the Owens medal surpassed that of a silver cup awarded to the winner of the first modern-day Olympic marathon in 1896 that sold for $865,000 in April 2012. It also topped the highest price paid for a U.S. Olympic item — the "Miracle on Ice" jersey worn by team captain Mike Eruzione in 1980 that sold for $657,250 last February.

"We are honored to have handled what we consider to be among the most inspiring sports artifacts ever offered at auction," Imler said. "The 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."

The auction, including more than 1,000 sports memorabilia items, brought in a total of nearly $4.5 million.

Other top lots included Jackie Robinson’s game-used bats from his historic 1949 National League Most Valuable Player season and the 1955 World Series, which sold for $183,500 and $128,617, respectively; and a Jackie Robinson single-signed baseball attracted a record bid of $104,765.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.