Nearly 100 items from Dick Button‘s personal collection will go up for auction on Jan. 25-26 via Brunk Auctions. Button won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 1948 and 1952 before kicking off a broadcasting career that lasted half a century.
Button told International Figure Skating he is planning on selling his New York City apartment, but has to part with some of his belongings first.
“I went to Stockholm for the world championships and Cecile von Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, the wife of [three-time Olympic gold medalist] Gillis Grafström, offered me her entire collection,” Button said, according to the report. “My father said he would buy it for me if I would like it but I said, ‘what would I do with all those things?’ So she gave me one Dutch tile from the 18th century – I now have 31 of them. She also gave me a print and I was so fond of it I started collecting.”
Last year, Button celebrated the 70th anniversary of his first gold medal and live-tweeted his own Olympic commentary during PyeongChang.
Much of the artwork in the collection centers on winter scenes and figure skating, including paintings, figurines, and rugs. But the auction will also include pairs of ice skates and costumes that Button wore and the Olympic Torch he carried in 2002.
“The collection is both highly personal and comprehensive and tells the story of both figure skating and its most important personality,” the Brunk website explained.
As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
What makes an athlete the greatest Winter Olympian? Is it as simple as most gold medals or most medals? Is it about prolonged excellence? Do results outside of the Olympics matter? What about records and unprecedented achievements?
Here are a few on my list (not in order of ranking):
Apolo Ohno — The athlete with the most medals isn’t always the greatest, but it’s a suitable place to begin the list. Ohno won eight Olympic short track medals in his career, including two gold, over three Games.
Bonnie Blair — Blair won six medals, the most of any female U.S. Winter Olympian, and competed in four Games. She also shares the record for most career Winter Olympic gold medals by an American (five) with …
Eric Heiden — I imagine few would question that Heiden had the greatest single-Games Winter Olympics performance by an American. He swept the speed skating events in Lake Placid in 1980. The knock against him is that he didn’t win medals at multiple Olympics, though he did finish seventh as a 17-year-old in the 1500m in 1976.
Dick Button — Button did not have the advantage of competing in multiple events like speed skaters. He won back-to-back Olympic golds in 1948 and 1952, a feat no man has matched since. He also landed the first double Axel in competition at the 1948 Olympics and the first triple jump in competition at the 1952 Olympics. Extra points for innovation.
Angela Ruggiero/Jenny Potter — It’s important not to leave out team sports, where longevity is important. Ruggiero and Potter won gold in the first Olympic women’s hockey competition in 1998 and stayed on for 12 more years, earning two more silvers and a bronze.