You, too, can have an Olympic medal (for the right price).

You, too, can have an Olympic medal (for the right price).
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You, too, can have an Olympic medal (for the right price).

You, too, can have an Olympic medal (for the right price).

A silver medal in shooting from the 1900 Olympics in Paris recently sold for a whopping $ 1,283.

Then there was a 1956 Winter Games bronze medal in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, which grossed $ 3,750.

But it was a first place silver medal from the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 – there were no gold medals at the time – that commanded six figures on the eve of the Games in that time. year. It sold for $ 180,111, according to RR Auction, the Boston-based auction house that handled all three sales.

While their sentimental value may be invaluable to athletes who wear them around their necks, Olympic medals can be found in pawn shops and podium auction blocks, where collectors scavenge them like rare coins, comics and other sports artifacts. like baseball cards.

“It’s a niche collector’s item,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction, which negotiated the sale of the three medals and 18 others on July 22, on Sunday. “Those who have entered the market in recent years, there is not a glut. “

You don’t have to be Caeleb Dressel, the American swimmer who won five gold medals in Tokyo, to collect medals.

Dozens of former Olympians have resorted to selling their medals over the years. Some spoke of financial hardship, while others said they were motivated by fundraising for charity.

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell will auction his gold medal from the 1956 Olympics while captain of the US basketball team this fall.

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“I have decided to sell most of my collection,” Russell said in a video on the website of Hunt Auctions, the auction house in Exton, Pa., Which will handle the sale of his medal, some of his NBA championship rings. , a warm-up jacket and other keepsakes.

Mr. Russell says a portion of the proceeds will go to MENTOR, a charity he co-founded that promotes mentoring opportunities for young people. A donation will also be made to a social justice initiative created by the Celtics.

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