Most expensive Olympic memorabilia sold at auction
Jesse Owen
1466574 UK pound(s) sterling
United States ()
The most expensive Olympic memorabilia sold at auction is a gold medal won by sprinter Jesse Owen at the Berlin Olympics held in 1936. It was sold for the price of $1,466,574 (£942,553) to Ron Burkle (USA) during an online auction in California, USA, on 8 December 2013. Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in the 100 metres, 200 metres, Long Jump and 4x100 relay. It is not known which particular discipline this medal was awarded for. The medal was sold by SCP Auctions on behalf of Elaine Plaines-Robinson, wife of entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Bill Robinson had been given the medal as a thank-you present by Owens after he helped the athlete find work in entertainment on his return from Germany. The buyer, Ron Burkle, is the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL franchise and also owns William Faulkner's Nobel Prize for Literature. The medal holds historical significance as Owens, an African-American, won the medals with Adolf Hitler looking on. The Nazi leader had hoped the Olympic Games in Berlin would promote Ayran racial supremacy only to be frustrated by the performances of Owens and fellow African-American athletes.