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Owens' medal sells for R15m

09 December 2013, 19:58

Los Angeles - An Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games has sold at auction for $1 466 574 (R15m), the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.

SCP Auctions based in Laguna Niguel, California, said the price for the medal in the auction that concluded on Sunday surpassed that of a silver cup won by the winner of the first modern-day Olympic marathon in 1896 that sold for $865 000 in April 2012 and the highest price paid for a US Olympic item -- the "Miracle on Ice" hockey jersey worn by team captain Mike Eruzione - that sold for $657 250 in February of 2013.

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

With Germany's Adolph Hitler using the Olympics as a backdrop for notions of an aryan master race, US legend Owens famously showed the power of a black athlete by capturing gold in the 100m and 200m, the long jump and the 4x100m relay.

The medal sold in the auction was not identifiable to a specific event but was given to famed dance and movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson by Owens after Robinson helped Owens find work in the years after his epic Olympic victories.

The estate of Robinson's late widow, Elaine Plaines-Robinson, put the medal up for auction.

The auction house said the buyer of the medal wished to remain anonymous at this time. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the medal will be donated to the Jesse Owens Foundation.


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