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Friday, October 15, 2010

No Bids Yet For Tommie Smith's Gold Medal

Posted By on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge For sale
  • For sale
For sale
Yesterday, we reported that former San Jose State University sprinter Tommie Smith -- the man famously raising a black-gloved fist in a Black Power salute during the 1968 Olympic Games -- was selling off his medal and track spikes.

Astoundingly, the $250,000 minimum price tag (not including 20 percent seller's fee and taxes) doesn't put Smith's red Pumas anywhere close to the world's most expensive shoes -- especially if you figure the bulk of that money is going toward the gold medal. But, according to the man handling the auction, the medal and shoes are still there if you want them. He hasn't fielded a bid yet.

Gary Zimet, the proprietor of the Moments in Time auction house, was unfazed that no one had yet offered him a quarter mil for the medal and shoes. The auction doesn't end until Nov. 4, and "I don't expect any bids to come in until the day of closing or the day before."

click to enlarge smith_gold_medal_thumb_175x215.jpg
While Smith won his gold for the 200-meter dash, the auction game, it seems, is more akin to the 10k run.

Smith has refused any entreaties from the press. But Zimet was happy to talk. He says he gradually softened up the former sprinter, asking him four or five times about going in together to sell the medal over the course of a year. "I'm very persistent," he notes. "I don't take no for an answer."

As for the rationale behind Smith parting ways with his prize, Zimet noted that, after 42 years, Smith wanted "the world to have a shot at it." Er, they did -- and Smith won the race. Isn't there something about some money? Zimet acknowledges that's true. But Smith "is not desperate."

Other odd items one can pick up from Zimet include:

click to enlarge smith_shoes_thumb_150x112.jpg

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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