2022 SPRING PREMIER AUCTION

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/5/2022

The very first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924 in the French Alps resort town of Chamonix with 16 countries represented and just 294 participating athletes in total. Presented here is an incredibly scarce Silver winner’s medal awarded to Väinö Elias Bremer, who captained Team Finland to a 2nd place finish in the Military Patrol event. A precursor to the modern biathlon which made its Olympic debut in 1960), this important competition relevant to its era was "rooted in the skiing traditions of Scandinavia, where early inhabitants revered the Norse god Ullr as both the ski god and the hunting god" (Encyclopedia Britannica).

A combination of cross-country skiing, mountaineering and rifle shooting, Military Patrol featured four-man units each comprised of a lieutenant, a noncommissioned officer and two privates that operated like a traditional firing squad. Competitors on skis carried 20-lb. daypacks, the three enlisted members bearing small-bore rifles and the officer equipped with a pistol. The 1924 race covered 30 km (~19 mi) with six teams--Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland--starting and ending at Olympic Stadium. Each team was released at three-minute intervals, with 30-second time bonuses awarded for each target hit. Ultimately, the Swiss won gold in 3 hours and 56 minutes, just four minutes ahead of the runner-up Finns. France took home the bronze.

[The 1924 Winter Games report initially categorized Military Patrol within the sport of skiing, although the IOC website now labels it under its own separate discipline. Gold, silver and bronze medals were issued to the top three finishing teams at these inaugural Winter Olympics. Military Patrol would later convert to a demonstration event at the three subsequent Winter Games--1928, 1936, and 1948--in which it appeared.]

An accomplished biathlete and high-ranking pilot, Väinö Bremer also competed at the 1924 Summer Games in Paris, finishing seventh in the modern pentathlon. Following Olympic competition, Bremer focused on his aviation career and became a Captain in the Finnish Air Force, even winning Finland's Harmon Trophy in 1927. Tragically, a plane crash took his life in 1964.

Measuring 55 mm in diameter, this striking piece of Olympic history was designed by Raoul Bénard. The obverse depicts a victorious athlete in the foreground holding ice skates and skis with the Alps in the distance. Inscribed on the reverse in raised lettering is the French legend ["Chamonix Mont-Blanc Sports D'Hiver, 25 Janvier-5 Fevrier 1924, Organises par le Comite Olympique Francais sous le haut patronage du Comite International Olympique a l'occasion de la celebration de la VIII Olympiade”].

The medal comes in outstanding condition and has been authenticated by NGC with a grade of AU 58 (https://www.ngccoin.com/coin-grading/grading-scale). It presents beautifully in NGC’s classy encapsulation case, exceptionally preserved for future generations to appreciate. This is the first 1924 Chamonix winner’s medal we have ever listed, a clear indication of just how rare it is to find one offered on the secondary market. It was originally sourced directly from the Bremer estate in Finland along with his 1924 Chamonix Silver Winner’s Diploma (see posted images), another rarity that the consignor may consider selling post-auction.

1924 CHAMONIX WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES 2ND PLACE WINNERS SILVER MEDAL AWARDED TO FINNISH BIATHLETE VAINO BREMER (NGC AU 58)
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