Christie's Olympic auction to feature '$253,760' 1896 marathon cup

The marathon winner's cup from the first modern Olympic Games will come to auction at Christie's in London next month with a £120,000-160,000 estimate.

The Breal's Silver Cup was presented to Spyros Louis, the winner of the 1896 marathon in Athens, Greece.

Frenchman Michel Bréal invented the marathon for the 1896 Olympics. He was inspired by the tale of messenger Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in 490 BC, before promptly expiring.

Of the 17 athletes who began the 1896 race, only 10 completed the course, and one was later disqualified for travelling by carriage.

Louis, the only Greek to win an athletics gold at the Games, finished in just under three hours - eight minutes ahead of second place.

1896 Olympic marathon cup
No prizes for the man in the carriage

The cup has superb provenance, having remained in the Louis family since the victory - a fact that will help boost its value among collectors.

Louis' grandson, also named Spyros, commented: "Our family has been very proud to have the honour of looking after this important historical sporting trophy for the last 116 years and my grandfather's achievement of winning the first ever marathon, at the first modern Olympic Games will remain part of my family's heritage forever."

26 Olympic advertising posters will also star at the April 18 auction. The pick of the bunch is an item advertising travel to the first London Olympic Games in 1908, estimated at £12,000-18,000.

The sale will also feature eight Olympic torches dating from 1936 to 1996, with estimates starting at £700.

A torch from the London 1948 "austerity Games" made £6,463 at Christie's in 2000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a drawing of 1960 Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, autographed by the star, available now.

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