As reported by Agence French Press and a variety of other sources, one of four gold medals that American Olympic legend Jesse Owens won during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is being put up for bid by an auction house. SCP Auctions, which is based in Los Angeles, will post the gold medal up between November 20 and December 7, and expect to receive a fee in the $1 million range due to the item's historical significance.
In case anyone needs a quick Olympics refresher, Owens famously won four gold medals while competing in front of Adolf Hitler in Berlin. He emerged victorious in the 100 and 200-meter runs as well as the long jump and the 4x100-meter relay.
One interesting twist to the auction is the larger confusion over which medal is being auctioned off. As reported by ESPN, there are no markings on the medal or the container in which it was stored to indicate which event Owens won to receive it.
There is also confusion about the exact whereabouts of the other three original Owens medals, which is a factor SCP believes will drive up the price of the Owens artifact on auction; there are four 1936 Jesse Owens medals on display at the Ohio State University library, but the library acknowledges that those are replacement medals which were provided by the German government.
"We think this is a seven-figure piece," SCP Auctions president David Kohler told ESPN. "We expect to see a good deal of international interest and could see some institutions bidding. This is so much bigger than a piece of sports memorabilia. It's a piece of history."
There's no question that Owens' gold is a piece of history. Whether it's more valuable than the silver cup for the first modern Olympic marathon winner -- an item which sold for an Olympics-record $865,000 in April 2013 -- remains to be seen.
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