One of Jesse Owens’ four gold medals from the 1936 Summer Olympics sold for $615,000 late Saturday night as Goldin Auctions wrapped up its 2019 Holiday Auction.
The medal was given to John Terpak, Sr., an American weightlifter who befriended Owens and set up speaking engagements and appearances after the Games. It was handed down to Terpak’s children after his death.
Owens won four golds during the games held in Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany, taking first place in the 100 and 200 meters, the long jump and the 4×100 relay.
Another Owens gold medal sold for $1.46 million in 2013. What happened to the other two seems to have been lost to time.
A group of high-end modern era rookie cards were among the strongest sellers in the 1,500-lot auction, topped by a BGS 8 2003-04 LeBron James Upper Deck Exquisite rookie patch autograph card which netted $198,030, a record price for the grade. It was one of several early James cards sold in the auction. A 2003-04 Ultimate Collection James card graded BGS 9.5 was also among the top items, selling for $55,350.
A BGS 9.5 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Orange Refractor (#6/25) also attracted strong interest before closing at $150,060 while a 2005-06 Upper Deck The Cup Sidney Crosby rookie patch auto (#26/99) graded BGS 9.5 changed hands at $44,280, the most ever paid for a copy of that card.
Among the vintage cards sold: a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 7 near mint ($100,860) and a 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie SGC 8 ($55,350). A PSA 10 Jerry Rice rookie card went for $18,450, also setting a record according to Goldin Auctions.
In addition to the Owens medal, the auction included hundreds of high-end memorabilia items including Serena Williams’ smashed racket from her famous outburst at the 2018 U.S. Open. It sold for $20,910, the most ever paid for any Williams item according to the auction company.
Collectors also chased a 1918-22 era Babe Ruth side-written game bat rated PSA/DNA GU 8 ( $49,040), a 2012 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XLVII ring from special teams player David Reed ($59,040) and the bat Reggie Jackson used to hit the 501st and 502nd home runs of his career. Originally gifted to Angels owner Gene Autry, the signed, inscribed bat sold for $40,590.
The much-publicized check endorsed by a young Michael Jordan in 1984 to settle a pool playing wager went for
$12,300, the most ever paid for a Jordan signed cancelled check.
A 1995 Jerry Rice game-used 49ers jersey sold for a record-setting $27,060 and a 2018 Juan Soto game-used jersey netted $24,600 – most ever paid for any memorabilia item associated with the young Washington Nationals star.
Complete results from the auction are here.
Goldin Auctions is currently accepting consignments for its 2020 Winter Auction which will open in mid-January.