London 1948 Olympic torch sells for $4,590
A torch from the London 1948 Olympic Games sold at a UK auction on May 31
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Friday 1 June 2012
A torch from the London 1948 Olympics has sold for £3,000 in the UK.
Inscribed "Olympia London With Thanks To The Bearer", the torch exactly met its estimate at the May 31 sale in Shropshire.
The torch previously belonged to Ronald Henry Bryan, a national standard athlete, and one of 1416 people chosen to transport the flame from Olympia to the official opening at Wembley Stadium, the last time the Olympics came to the UK.
The torch's bowl was decorated with 16 skeleton see-through Olympic rings. It was accompanied at the sale with a copy of the photograph of Bryan holding the torch, and a letter from the Olympic committee seeking his participation in the relay.
Relay torches are prominent participants at sporting memorabilia auctions.
One of just 22 torches made for the 1952 Helsinki Games achieved €290,000 (£239,000) at Christie's in April 2011.
The 1948 specimen's comparatively modest price can be attributed to the far greater number of torches produced for the London Games - 1688. It is unknown how many of those are extant.
A silver medal for the Tug of War from the 1908 London Olympics also featured at the sale. It too met its estimate precisely, selling for £2,000.
The auction follows the news that an Olympic torch from the London 2012 relay, which was thought to have raised £153,000 for charity on Ebay, was the subject of a hoax bid.
It is expected to now be sold via an auction house.
The most valuable piece of Olympic memorabilia ever sold at auction is the marathon winner's cup from the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, which made £541,250 in April.
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Images: Mullock's Auctions