Bonhams Olympic auction to feature Australian rower's medals

With anticipation for London 2012 reaching fever pitch, and the games just a few months away, it's no surprise that historic Olympic memorabilia is capturing the attention of collectors.

Bonhams will present its perfectly-timed sale of Olympic memorabilia in London on July 25, just two days before the opening ceremony - and the selection of rare pieces on offer looks certain to bring out the competitive side of collectors and investors around the world.

The highlight of the sale is set to be the personal archive of Bobby Pearce, the gold medal-winning Australian rower who triumphed at the games in both 1928 and 1932.

Bobby Pearce
Australia’s first rowing Olympic gold medallist

Henry Robert "Bobby" Pearce became the first Australian rower to win an Olympic gold medal, at the Amsterdam games in 1928, and the first to retain a rowing title at the Los Angeles games in 1932. In addition to his success at the games, he won the sculls world championship after turning professional in 1932 and defended his title in both 1934 and 1938.

Pearce is regarded as one of the finest Australian rowers of all time, and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986. His name remains renowned in his home nation and as such his personal archive, which includes both his gold medals alongside letters, photographs and rare posters, is to be viewed as a valuable piece of Australian sporting history.

The sale follows in the footsteps of another similar auction in 2011, when the personal memorabilia collection of the Australian Olympic swimmer John Konrads sold for more than £64,000 (AU$100,000). His collection of medals, including a gold medal won at the Rome Games in 1960, achieved £15,994 (AU$24,750) and was acquired by the National Museum of Australia.

Pearce's son Bobby Jr commented on the sale: "This is a remarkable archive of Olympic and Australian memorabilia, paying homage to my father's great sporting achievements. I would hope that a suitable home for this collection could be found in Australia."

The Bobby Pearce Archive will appear at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000-50,000 (AU$44,000-AU$73,000). However, the obvious national importance of the collection could see it exceed expectations when it crosses the auction block in July.

For collectors eager to grab a memento of their Olympic heroes before the games begin, we can currently offer this photograph signed by the current Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt.

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