World Coins

How much it will take to buy an Olympic gold medal

Bidding is set to open Jan. 12 for RR Auction’s sale of Summer and Winter Olympics winners’ medals, participation medals, Olympic torches and related items.

Bidding closes Jan. 19.

Among the winners’ medals offered are a rare gold winner’s medal from the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy; a silver winner’s medal from the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome; a bronze winner’s medal from the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm; and a silvered bronze winner’s medal from the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris.

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Unless specified in the lot description, the identity of the medal winner, as well as the sport for which the medal was won, will be disclosed only to the highest bidder, according to the auction company.

1956 Cortina

Cortina d’ Ampezzo, known as Cortina, is an Italian town selected to host the fifth Winter Olympics in 1944. The games were canceled because of World War II. Cortina was selected to host the Winter Games again in 1956.

The 60-millimeter gilt .800 fine silver medal is one of 51 awarded to first-place finishers in their respective sports.

The medal’s obverse features a head of Victory crowned in Olympic rings with a torch to the right and VII GIOCHI OLIMPICI INVERNALI inscribed around. The reverse portrays an ice crystal over Mt. Pomagagnon, and the inscription CITIUS ALTIUS FORTIUS.

The medal, with an estimate of $10,000+, was designed by Italian medallist Constantino Affer from Milan and struck by Lorioli Bros.

The Cortina Games were the first Winter Olympics in which athletes from the former Soviet Union participated.

1960 Rome

With an estimate of $6,000+, the second-place silver winner’s medal from the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics is identified as having been awarded to Soviet sprint canoeist Aleksandr Silayev.

The 68-millimeter medal, set in a bronze laurel wreath bezel, was designed by Italian painter and sculptor Giuseppe Cassioli.

The medals’ obverse depicts Victory, holding a laurel wreath and palm branch, seated high above the Coliseum, with raised text, GIOCHI DELLA XVII OLIMPIADE, ROMA MCMLX. The reverse features a victorious athlete, with palm branch, being carried by other athletes, the stadium visible in the background.

The sports name in Italian, CANOA, is inscribed on a tablet on the bezel below the obverse design.

1912 Stockholm

A 33-millimeter bronze third-place winner’s medal with original presentation case is offered from the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. The medal has an estimate of $5,000+.

The medal’s obverse, designed by Bertram Mackennal, depicts a victorious athlete, with palm branch, being crowned with a laurel wreath by two seated females. Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik Lindberg’s reverse, encircled with the inscription OLYMPISKA SPELEN I STOCKHOLM, features a herald proclaiming the opening of the Olympic Games, with a bust of Ling, the founder of Swedish gymnastics, in the background.

Mackennel’s design was originally used on the winner’s medals for the 1908 London Summer Olympics.

1900 Paris

Offered from the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris is a rectangular silvered bronze winner’s medal measuring 40 millimeters by 58 millimeters. The medal was designed by French sculptor and engraver Frédéric-Charles Victor de Vernon from Paris.

The medal’s obverse inscribed REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE, EXPOSITION UNIVERSELL, PARIS 1900, features a winged goddess scattering laurels over the grounds of the Exposition.The reverse identifies the sport as “physical exercise and sports,” EXERCICES PHYSIQUES ET SPORT, and depicts a victorious athlete upon a podium with a stadium and the Acropolis in the background.

One edge of the medal is stamped incuse BRONZE.

The medal carries an estimate of $1,000+.

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