1936 Olympic Basketball Gold Medal

Value (2015) | $25,000 Auction$50,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
I brought an Olympic gold medal that was given to Uncle Carl in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin. They were the first U.S. basketball team to go to the Olympics, and they won a gold medal.

APPRAISER:
Yes indeed, that was the first Olympics that they included basketball as a medal event, in 1936 in Berlin. And he played basketball previously?

GUEST:
Yes, he played for Universal Pictures. I think the team was...

APPRAISER:
Sponsored by Universal Pictures.

GUEST:
...sponsored by them.

APPRAISER:
And he played for UCLA as well.

GUEST:
Yes, he did play for UCLA.

APPRAISER:
College basketball.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And tell me what you remember of him talking about the trip.

GUEST:
Uncle Carl didn't talk too much about the trip. Carl was a very quiet man. I either was told or I read that the final basketball game was played on clay, and that it was pouring down rain. And considering Carl's demeanor, I would suspect that was one of the reasons he didn't talk about the Olympics. He was very proud of his sport.

APPRAISER:
That was one interesting part of that game was that it was a low-scoring affair. At 19 to 8, the USA defeated Canada in the gold medal game, and it was played in a heavy rain, which made for a real sloppy game. And I saw you brought the photograph here of them traveling on the steamship to Europe for the Olympic event, and they're in their uniforms. Where's your Uncle Carl in the picture?

GUEST:
Uncle Carl is right here in the picture. He's the one that's looking away.

APPRAISER:
And then that of course leads us to the gold medal here, which says "Berlin, 1936," and that's his awarded gold medal as part of the USA basketball team. We've had a lot of discussion on this today, mainly because we couldn't find any other examples that have come for sale from this team, being the first basketball team to win a gold medal.

GUEST:
Oh, really?

APPRAISER:
Based on the rarity. Our opinion at auction for the gold medal, we would expect it to sell for between $25,000 to $35,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
And we would believe you could insure it for $50,000.

GUEST:
Okay, okay.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Davenport, WA
Appraised value (2015)
$25,000 Auction$50,000 Insurance
Event
Tucson, AZ (May 30, 2015)
Form
Medal
Material
Gold
April 11, 2016: After this appraisal aired, Antiques Roadshow received an update from the guest, letting us know the 1936 Olympic gold medal was sold at auction in December 2015 for $66,632 (including the buyer’s premium).

Appraiser Grant Zahajko remarked, "This was a situation where we had not seen any items from a member of that team ever come to the market. The price range of U.S. gold medals previously sold at auction varies from $10,000 to $300,000. This was an important medal in that it belonged to a member of the first gold medal-winning U.S. basketball team competing in the first Olympics to include basketball as an event. However, this team was made up of amateurs and the medal had a hole drilled in it by the medal winner's wife so it could be worn as a pendant, causing me to believe that it would sell at the lower end of the values. Despite the lower level of athletes competing in the event that year and the condition issues, the importance of this being from the first year basketball was an Olympic sport, and that the USA won it, made this even more desirable than I expected."

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