World Coins

Olympic winners medals offered from Games past

Four winners medals from four different Summer Olympic Games are being offered by RR Auction in the firm’s 998-lot sale closing Sept. 14.

The medals offered are a bronze, third-place medal from the 1920 games in Antwerp, Belgium; a silver, second-place medal from the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics; a silver, second-place medal from the 1948 Summer Olympics in London; and a bronze, third-place medal from the boycotted 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

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The sport for which each medal was awarded is known for only the 1980 medal, but unknown for the other three. The athlete to whom each medal was awarded is also unknown to the auction house. 

1920 bronze medal

The 60-millimeter medal by sculptor Josue Dupon depicts on its obverse a victorious athlete holding a laurel wreath and palm branch, with a statue of Renommee in the background. The reverse depicts the Brabo fountain above the Antwerp shield, with the Cathedral of Our Lady and city looming in the background

The medal, with an estimate beyond $5,000, is housed in its original red leather case, gilt-stamped with a legend indicating it is for a third place finisher.

1932 medal

The silver medal presented at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics is 55 millimeters in diameter and carries an estimate of more than $8,000.

Italian painter and sculptor Giuseppe Cassioli designed the Olympic winners’ medals. The medal’s obverse features  a seated Victory with the Coliseum in the background.

The reverse depicts a winner carried by jubilant athletes.

The medal is housed in its original beige cardboard presentation box with silver triangular metal plate on bottom designating second place finisher.

1948 silver medal

The same designs that Cassioli executed for the 1932 medals were replicated for the 1948 medal for the London Summer Olympics. The 55-millimeter medal carries an estimate of more than $8,000.  

Three hundred of these second-place winner’s medals were produced for the London Games, but only 136 were awarded. 

1980 bronze

The 1980 bronze medal, 60 millimeters in diameter, was struck at the Moscow Mint. The obverse design is by Cassioli, the reverse designed by Ilya Postol.

The obverse depiction of seated Victory and rendition of the Coliseum differs from Cassioli’s work on the 1932 and 1948 medals. The reverse features the Moscow Olympic emblem and Olympic flame.

The edge is stamped incuse in Cyrillic, designating the sport for which it was issued as wrestling. There is no indication as to whether the medal was issued for freestyle or Greco-Roman wrestling, or for what weight class.

The medal, with ane estimate of $5,000+, is suspended from its original five-colored ribbon in blue, red, yellow, and two shades of green.

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