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First Olympic marathon trophy fetches top price at London auction

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First Olympic marathon trophy fetches top price at London auction

Post  Admin on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:46 am



A
trophy won by Greek runner Spyros Louis during the first Olympic
marathon in 1896 fetched a record price at auction in London Wednesday
where it was sold for 541,250 pounds (861,129 dollars), auction house
Christie's said. The unique silver cup broke the world record price
for an item of Olympic memorabilia sold at auction, said Christie's. It
had been estimated to fetch between 120,000 and 160,000 pounds. It
was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder, said the auction house.
However, Greek radio reports said the trophy remained in Greek hands.
It was bought by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which was founded in
1996 to honour the Greek shipping magnate, the reports said. Louis
was awarded the trophy, a silver medal, an antique vase, an olive branch
and a diploma by Greece's King George I for the victory in the
40-kilometre marathon in the first modern Olympics. Louis' grandson,
who is also called Spyros, asked Christie's to sell the 15-centimetre
silver trophy at auction. He intends to give the sale proceeds to his
two children. "It was not an easy decision," he told the To Vima
newspaper, citing financial difficulties for his decision to sell the
trophy. "I tried to sell it to the Greek state or to a museum here but
they kept telling me that they have no money to buy it." After the
auction, Spyros said: "I could never have imagined that the auction of
my grandfather's marathon winner's cup would generate such international
interest. I am overwhelmed by the global admiration felt for my
grandfather." The marathon runner was seen as a national hero for
being the only Greek athlete to win at the 14-nation Olympics, which
were held at the Panatheneic Stadium. The mayor of Maroussi, a
suburb in northern Athens which lies only a few kilometres from the site
where the first Olympic marathon took place 116 years ago, had also
raised some 300,000 euros to bid for the silver cup. Greece named
the 2004 Olympic Stadium after Spyros Louis.

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