Sports memorabilia collectors 'going for gold' at London 2012 Olympics



The precious pieces of metal every competitor will want to win at next year's Olympic Games were unveiled this week...

And if past sales are anything to go by, sports memorabilia collectors will have an eye on them as well.

We have already seen how popular the Games will be, with tickets for almost all events heavily oversubscribed.

We expect gold medals won at London 2012 to also be in great demand when they begin to appear at auction in years to come.

What price will London 2012 medals make at auction in years to come?

Those looking to pick up a valuable medal from previous Games have plenty of options, and they might not as expensive as you think.

Collectors can capitalise on the relevant lack of funding many athletes receive by buying up cut-price medals.

"Money is a big consideration for those athletes," auctioneer Ingrid O'Neil told America's ABC News.

"A few thousand dollars to a Russian athlete is very important and a lot of money. It reflects on the conditions some athletes have to endure."

A gold medal won by a Greco-Roman wrestler at the 1984 Los Angeles Games recently sold at an Ingrid O'Neil auction for $8,000.

For the most historic medals - those that have a significant story behind them - the asking prices can really shoot up.

Tommie Smith's 200 metres gold medal from the Mexico City 1968 Olympics, along with his running shoes, went up for auction last year with a $250,000 price tag, although it failed to sell.

Smith is famous for his Black Power salute during the medal ceremony.

Moving to the chillier side of the Olympics, the gold medal won by Mark Wells of the US "miracle on ice" hockey team in 1980 made $310,700 at Heritage Auction Galleries in 2010, far above its $100,000 estimate.

It was the first time a medal from the "miracle on ice" side had appeared at auction.


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