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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tommie Smith Selling Gold Medal (PICS)

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 7:45 AM

click to enlarge ...Step three: Profit
  • ...Step three: Profit
Want a Gold Medal? Start training. Or, start saving. Tommie Smith, the former San Jose State track star immortalized when he and fellow San Jose teammate John Carlos gave Black Power salutes on the medal stand in 1968, is hawking his gold medal.

You can put in your bid here at Moments in Time Memorabilia -- and expect to pay well more than the going rate for gold. The opening bid will be $250,000. And, per Memories in Time: "ANYONE WISHING TO BID MUST SUBMIT A $100,000 DEPOSIT INTO AN ATTORNEY ESCROW ACCOUNT. THAT WILL ENTITLE THEM TO PERSONALLY INSPECT THE MEDAL AND SHOES IN THE WEEK PRECEDING THE SALE."

click to enlarge Walk a mile in Tommie Smith's shoes
  • Walk a mile in Tommie Smith's shoes
As alluded to above, your quarter of a million dollars -- likely more -- won't just get you a medal, however. You'll also get Smith's Pumas, which he wore when he won the 200-meter dash in record time at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Memories in Time hasn't yet returned SF Weekly's call. Smith's wife, contacted in Georgia, told the San Jose Mercury News they weren't talking. The auction house's Gary Zimet told the Merc "Part of the reason is for

money, but also he feels it is time to share it with the

sports-collecting memorabilia public." Smith would have sold the black glove, too -- but he doesn't know where it is.


On top of whatever you pay for the medal -- and the shoes -- add on a 20 percent "buyer's premium." And, unless you have a "valid resale certificate," you're going to be paying New York State sales tax, too.

Get sprinting. 

Bonus: Here's an answer to a trivia question. The silver-medalist famous for being the white guy in the Black Power salute photo is Australian Peter Norman. He won't be selling his silver medal -- sadly, he died in 2006. But he had more to do with Smith and Carlos' historic gesture than you'd think

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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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