1968 Winter Olympics torch to auction at $40,000 in Paris

A torch from the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics will be sold as part of an auction to be held on February 22 in Paris.

Grenoble 1968 Olympic torch
The 1968 torch was the first to be carried across water


The torch is expected to sell for $33,500-40,000, as one of the rarest and most sought after for collectors. It is this rarity - just 33 examples were ever made - that accounts for the comparatively high estimate, with more common examples from other Games, such as those from London 1948, selling for just $7,000.

Even fewer - just 22 - were produced for the 1952 Helsinki Games, one of which sold for $384,737 at Christie's in 2011.

The torches made for Grenoble were relayed over a distance of 7,000 km between December 19, 1967 and February 6, 1968, before figure skater Alain Calmat finally lit the Olympic Flame. The bronzed steel torch was the first to be carried over water, as a diver held it aloft while crossing the port of Marseilles.

The event is remembered in French sporting history as the event when countryman Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals in all the alpine skiing events.

Since Olympic fever gripped London and much of the world last summer, Olympic memorabilia has been selling well at auction, with a set of 1908 British medals selling for £17,000 ($26,360) in July 2012.

PFC Auctions is currently offering an array of sports memorabilia in its latest sale, which is currently open for bidding. A highlight for Olympic fans is an official programme for London 2012, which has been signed by Usain Bolt and a number of Team BG gold medallists.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock