Auction News

Race on for top British Olympian’s medals


Prizes, including four Olympic medals, won by Britain’s jointly most awarded Olympian are being sold at a London auction.

You may not know Guy Butler’s name, but it should trip off your tongue as easily as readily as Sebastian Coe, Christine Ohuruogu and Mo Farah.

Butler is, with those athletes, Great Britain’s top Olympic medal winner.

Butler, 1899 – 1981, won four Olympic medals: a gold in the 4 X 400m relay and a silver in the individual race in 1920 in Antwerp.

These Antwerp Olympic medals are beautiful objects in their own right. Image courtesy of Noonans Mayfair.

In 1924 at Paris – the “Chariots of Fire” Olympics – he won an individual 400m bronze and a bronze in the relay.

He competed again in 1928, the first British triple Olympian, but did not add to his medal haul.

Nevertheless, his four Olympic medals match Coe, Ohuruogu, and Farah.

On Thursday, May 9, a collection of his awards, including his four Olympic medals will be sold at Noonan’s in London.

The collection, which includes numerous other awards, carries an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.

The most expensive Olympic medal ever sold was that won by Black American sprinter Jesse Owen in front of Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It realised just short of £1 million at auction in 2013.

In 2012, the awards (including a CBE) of Harold Abrahams sold at auction for just short of £40,000.

Abrahams won the Olympic 100m gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics. His story, and that of his teammate Eric Lidell were the focus of the 1981 film Chariots Of Fire.

Lidell, a devout Christian, refused to compete in events run on Sunday and so missed out on the 100m competition.

He won the 400m in which Butler won the bronze.

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