Jesse Owens' Olympic medal could make over $1m at auction

One of the most famous Olympic medals ever won, that of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, will be sold online through SCP Auctions on December 7.


The medal, one of four such golds won by Owens to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler, could see over $1m according to auctioneer David Kohler in an interview with ESPN.

"We think this a seven-figure piece," he said. "We expect to see a good deal of international interest and could see some institutions bidding. This is so much bigger than a piece of sports memorabilia. It's a piece of history."

Should it meet the auction house's expectation, it will surpass the $861,130 record for Olympic memorabilia set by the 1896 marathon winner's cup at Christie's in April 2012.

SCP Auctions holds the record for any item of sports memorabilia, having sold a Babe Ruth jersey for $4.4m in May 2012.

Jesse Owens, an African American athlete, won the 100m, 200m, 4X100m relay and long jump at the 1936 Olympics, which was held in Berlin under the Nazi regime. Adolf Hitler had tried to remove Jewish and black competitors from the event.

It is not known which of the four medals is presented at the auction.

Owens returned to an America that was still under the grip of segregation and was not allowed to meet President Franklin D Roosevelt like his white teammates.

In response, Owens said: "Hitler didn't snub me - it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Hitler also sent Owens an inscribed photograph of himself.

The medal has been consigned from the estate of Elaine Plaines-Robinson, wife of entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Robinson and Owens were good friends, and the gifting of the medal is recorded in Robinson's biography.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some fantastic items of sports memorabilia for sale.

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