One of Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympic Gold Medal to Sell in Online Auction

Jesse Owens salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Germany’s Lutz Long, the silver-medalist on the right, and Japan’s Naoto Tajima (bronze medalist, left) stand with him.

One of the four gold medals won by U.S. sporting great Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics is headed to the auction block.

SCP Auctions, which specializes in sports memorabilia, says on its website that the medal will be available in its auction running Nov. 20 through Dec. 7.

One of Jesse Owens’ four 1936 Olympic gold medals will be auctioned by SCP Auctions’ online auction on Dec. 7.

Owens’s achievements at the 1936 Berlin Games are the stuff of Olympic legend: He won gold in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4-x-100 meter relay races and the long jump. The achievements of the African American athlete embarrassed German dictator Adolf Hitler, shattering his myth of the supremacy of Aryan competitors.

The medal came to the auction house through the estate of Elaine Plaines-Robinson, the wife of entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, who was a friend of Owens.

In a video posted on the website, SCP Auctions vice president Dan Imler tells an interviewer that he believes the medal could fetch as much as $1 million, thanks to its historic significance.

The Owens medal will be part of an auction that includes memorabilia from various other sports. In May of 2012, SCP Auctions sold a New York Yankees jersey worn by Babe Ruth, circa 1920, for $4.4 million dollars.

Which of the four medals is it? No one knows for sure. The medal and the box it was stored in do not indicate which award it is and there is no historical or family records detailing which medal Owens gave to Robinson. 

Last April, a silver cup that went to the winner of the marathon in the first modern Olympics (1896), realizing $865,000, making it the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. Collecting Olympic medals is growing in popularity, especially as the number of medals awarded in the games has grown from the

A gold medal awarded to hockey player Mark Wells, a member of the U.S. team that won an improbable victory against the highly favored Soviet team in the semifinals the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y. Known as the “Miracle on Ice.” sold at auction in 2010 for $310,700. The jersey worn by team captain Mike Eruzione in that semifinal game against the Russians sold for $657,250 earlier this year.

Collecting Olympic medals is growing in popularity, especially as the number of medals awarded in the games has grown exponentially Altogether, according to Statistics Brain, there have been a total of 14,902 total Prize Medals awarded since 1904, including both Summer and Winter Games (5,008 gold, 4,862 silver, 5,032 bronze). This tally does not including the most recent 2012 Summer Games in London, which awarded approximately 4,500 medals.

For more information about this auction, visit the SCP Auctions website.

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