Rare medal from first modern Olympics fetches over $180,000

July 23, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A rare first-place medal from the first modern Olympic Games has sold for more than $180,000.

Boston-based RR Auction said Friday that the winning bidder for the silver medal from the 1896 games in Athens, Greece, was a collector based on the East Coast. The company estimated before the auction that the first place medal could fetch about $75,000.

At the inaugural Olympiad, first-place winners were awarded silver medals and second-place finishers earned bronze, the auction house said. There was no award for placing third.

“Any winner’s medal from the historic debut of the 1896 Olympic Games remains exceedingly rare,” said Bobby Livingston, RR Auction’s executive vice president.

Unlike today’s games where thousands of athletes compete, just 250 were featured at the first modern games, the company said.


The auction began July 15 and concluded July 22.

Other notable items sold include a gold medal bestowed on the Argentine men’s football team during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics that went for more than $97,000.

A gold medal for the U.S. men’s basketball team during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics also sold for more than $83,000.

And a gold medal awarded to Swedish wrestler Ivar Johansson during the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics sold for more than $45,000.