A gold Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to Argentinean Carlos Saavedra
Lamas in 1936 brought just over $1.116 million at Stack’s Bowers
Galleries’ March 27 auction in Baltimore.
Brian Kendrella, Stack’s Bowers Galleries president, said that the
winning bidder was an individual collector from Asia who wishes to
The medal was noteworthy as the first Nobel Peace Prize medal to be
auctioned in the United States.
The last time one sold at auction was in November 1985 when
Sotheby’s sold the Nobel Peace Prize medal award of Sir William Cremer
from 1903, for the U.S. equivalent of roughly $16,750 at a London auction.
Lamas was an Argentine politician and academic. Born in Buenos
Aires, Argentina, in 1878, he was also the first Latin American Nobel
Peace Prize recipient. Among his most noted accomplishments was his
role in negotiating the end of the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia.
As foreign minister of Argentina, he worked to strengthen his
country’s position internationally and was elected president of the
Assembly of the League of Nations in 1936. He would finish his career
in several academic roles, including as president of the University of
Buenos Aires. He died in 1959.
Stack’s Bowers reported that the location of the medal was unknown
after the death of Lamas and that it turned up in a South American
pawn shop where an American purchased it around 20 years ago for its
bullion value. It traded hands several times prior to being acquired
by the collector whose estate consigned the medal to auction.
The medal has nearly 8 ounces of gold, meaning that with gold at
$1,300 an ounce the bullion value of the metal alone is more than $10,000.
The auction was held during the first day the Whitman Expo in
Baltimore, March 27 to 30.