The Market for Medals

Tommie Smith couldn’t find a buyer.  Now, Lee Evans is giving it a shot.

Evans captured two gold medals in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Now he’s trying to sell them in hopes of raising $250,000 to help build a school in Liberia.

“I don’t need the medals,” he told the San Jose Mercury-News.  “I need money to build the school.”

1968 Summer OlympicsLast year, Smith made a few headlines when he tried to sell his 200 meter gold medal for $250,000–ten times or more what most sports memorabilia experts believe it’s worth.  Smith’s famous closed-fist, black-gloved salute on the medal stand made history, but it’s not enough to woo buyers at a six figure level.

Evans says he’s buoyed by the sale of Mark Well’s 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey gold medal that took place last year.  The only ’80 U.S. Olympic hockey gold to hit the block, it sold for over $300,000.

Even if his asking price is out of line, Evans’ intentions are pure.  Here’s the story of his quest, his thoughts on the two medals and who’s selling them.