Christie’s is to auction a 1904 Olympic gold medal awarded to George Louis Redlein of basketball side the Buffalo Germans.
Valued at $100,000-200,000, it’s primed to become one of the most valuable pieces of Olympic memorabilia ever sold.
The 1904 St Louis Olympic Games marked the first appearance of basketball as a demonstration sport. Its inclusion was primarily promotional and the medals didn’t count towards the national tally.
However, they are identical to the other gold medals awarded in the Games. That’s important because this was one of only three Olympics where solid gold medals were used.
The Buffalo Germans were one of four teams to compete in the event. As the name suggests, most of the players were German immigrants. The team was founded at a German YMCA on the east side of Buffalo, New York in the late 1800s.
YMCA gym teacher Jim Naismith invented basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891, while trying to come up with an active sport that could be played indoors during the region’s harsh winters. By the turn of the century, America’s top colleges were fielding basketball teams.
A wildly eclectic range of pieces feature in the June 14 sale in New York. One item that’s worthy of special attention is a 1984 copy of Macworld magazine signed by Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. It’s expected to make $40,000-60,000.
The consignment follows on from explosive growth in demand for Steve Jobs autographs. The record was set at a colossal $174,757 in March this year, a result that puts Jobs in the same league as icons such as John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe.
This present lot is very likely to exceed its estimate as a result. Few pieces displaying both Jobs and Wozniak autographs exist. In fact, the only other specimen offered at auction was the original Apple contract (which sold for $1.5m in 2011).
It’s also a truly exceptional display piece. This issue introduced the world to the Macintosh – one of the most advanced home computers of its era and the first to feature a GUI (Graphical User Interface).