The biggest price at an auction of rare Olympic memorabilia ended with a six-figure sale–but it wasn’t for an item used in competition. Boston-based RR Auction sold a 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics torch for $231,287.
The torch, one of just 33 manufactured was used by French wrestler Daniel Robin to light the Olympic cauldron during the closing ceremonies in Grenoble’s Le Stade de Glace on February 18, 1968.
Months later, Robin would go on to win two silver medals at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, becoming the first wrestler to win two silver medals at the same Games.
While Robin considered his World Championship and Olympic medals to be his greatest achievements in wrestling, he looked upon his role as a Grenoble torchbearer with personal pride.
“Any Grenoble torch would stand out as one of the rarest and most sought-after Olympic torches ever made, and their desirability has been heightened by the recent 50th anniversary of the Games,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. “The use of this particular torch in the closing ceremonies of the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics doubtlessly makes it the finest example in existence.”
The auction included other torches. One from the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympics Torch sold for $38,246, a Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics Torch sold for $11,251, and a London 1948 Summer Olympics Torch sold for $7,500.
Possibly the first gold medal from the 2016 Rio Summer Games sold for $56,817; another gold from the fencing competition at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics sold for $24,361; an Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics Gold winner’s medal issued to Cuban baseball player Miguel Caldés Luis sold for $21,962. Six other medals dating as far back as 1928 each sold for $11,000 or more.