Olympic Medal That Enraged Hitler Up for Auction

Jesse Owens' only surviving 1936 gold hits the block

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 2, 2013 7:35 AM CST

(Newser) – A precious piece of sports history—and history itself—is hitting the auction block: the only known original Jesse Owens gold medal. It's unclear which of Owens' four 1936 Olympic wins the medal is attached to, and the whereabouts of the other three are unknown. But it's the closet tie to Owens' world record-setting 100-meter dash, made at the Berlin Games orchestrated by Adolf Hitler to showcase the supremacy of the Aryan race. The African-American son of a sharecropper "obliterated Hitler's plans," says an SCP Auctions partner.

Owens also won gold in the 200-meter dash, the 400 relay, and the long jump, and gave one of his golds to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who helped the athlete find work in the entertainment field after the Games. The AP reports that SCP Auctions believes the medal could fetch more than $1 million; the auction closes Saturday and the current bid is $172,618. As for the eventual buyer, "We just hope that it's purchased by an institution where the public could have access to it, a museum or something like that," says Owens' daughter.

This handout provided by SCP Auctions, Inc., shows the front, left, and back, right, of one of Jesse Owens' four gold medals won at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
This handout provided by SCP Auctions, Inc., shows the front, left, and back, right, of one of Jesse Owens' four gold medals won at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.   (AP Photo/SCP Auctions, Inc.)
In this Aug. 14, 1936, file photo, Jesse Owens competes in one of the heats of the 200-meter run at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
In this Aug. 14, 1936, file photo, Jesse Owens competes in one of the heats of the 200-meter run at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.   (AP Photo/File)
In this Aug. 11, 1936 file photo, Olympic broad jump medalists salute during the medals ceremony at the Summer Olympics in Berlin.
In this Aug. 11, 1936 file photo, Olympic broad jump medalists salute during the medals ceremony at the Summer Olympics in Berlin.   (AP Photo/File)
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