Rare bronze medal from first Olympics set to fetch £25,000 at auction

Rare bronze medal from first Olympics set to fetch £25,000 at auction

Rare bronze medal from first Olympic Games is set to fetch £25,000 at auction

  • The bronze medal dates back to the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, 1896
  • It was found by a woman who was clearing out her home in Shropshire
  • It features an image of the god Zeus next to the word Olympia and is 2in wide
  • It is expected to fetch £25,000 when it goes up for auction later this month

A bronze medal from the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 is expected to fetch £25,000 at auction. 

The owner of the medal, which was gathering dust in a drawer, had no idea what it was until they sought a valuation. 

They discovered it had been awarded to the second-place finisher – along with a laurel branch – at the first Games in Athens. 

The rare medal, was passed down the same family until the owner came across it during a clear-out at her home in Shropshire. 

It features an image of the god Zeus next to the word Olympia – but it is not clear who won it. 

Mullock’s Auctioneers of Ludlow have valued it at between £20,000 and £25,000 for a sale later this month. The gold, silver and bronze medal system was introduced in 1904

A bronze medal from the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 is expected to fetch £25,000 at auction. The rare medal, pictured, was passed down the same family until the owner came across it during a clear-out at her home in Shropshire

The 2in-wide medal was designed by French sculptor JC Chaplain.

On the reverse, the words First International Olympic Games, Athens 1896 are inscribed in Greek and the edge is stamped ‘Bronze’.

In total, 43 second place medals were awarded across nine sports and only three British athletes received them.

However, mystery surrounds who this particular medal was awarded to as the family were unaware of its significance.

During the inaugural Olympic Games, winners were given a silver medal and an olive branch while a copper medal and a laurel branch were awarded to runners up.

The International Olympic Committee has since retroactively assigned gold, silver and bronze medals to the three best placed athletes in each event.

An athlete competing in the rope climbing event during the first ever modern Olympic games in Athens in April 1896. Athens was chosen at the first host of the modern games as Greece was considered the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, dating back to 776 BC

A total of 14 nations and 241 athletes competed at the games with all participants being European apart from the United States team, which won the most gold medals.

Athens was chosen at the first host of the modern games as Greece was considered the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, dating back to 776 BC.

The nine sports featured were athletics, cycling, swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling, fencing, shooting, and tennis.

Ben Jones, from Mullock’s Auctioneers, in Ludlow, Shropshire, which is handling the sale, said: ‘It is great to see something such as this in the light of day.

‘We are very honoured to have been given the opportunity to auction off such a piece.

‘This medal has been handed down the family for a number of generations without anyone really looking, or knowing what it is.

‘It was kept in a drawer until the vendor decided to have a clear out and came across it and decided to get a second opinion.’

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