Jesse Owens‘ Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal are up for sale, expected to garner six figures each by the end of an ongoing SCP auction on Saturday.
“Our family has cherished the items in this collection for many years,” Marlene Owens-Rankin, one of Owens’ daughters, said in a press release. “In the interest of fairness to our families and because of the number of items in the collection, we made the decision to put the memorabilia up for auction. We hope that the majority of the items will end up with collectors who wish to share them with the public so that the collection will be a source of enjoyment and inspiration for as many people as possible for generations to come.”
Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, triumphing in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany by taking the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.
One of those gold medals was auctioned in 2013 for $1,466,574, the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. Two more were said last April to be auctioned last August, but there are no widespread reports of the sales actually happening.
Before Owens’ death in 1980, the sprinter reportedly said he had lost the four gold medals. The German government replaced them, and they now rest at Ohio State, Owens’ alma mater.
Owens’ Presidential Medal of Freedom was given to him by President Gerald Ford in 1976. His Congressional Gold Medal was awarded posthumously in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. They are the highest civilian awards in the U.S.
Also in the auction is American Jim Hines‘ gold medal from the 1968 Olympic 100m.
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