Fall Premier Auction 2017


Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/4/2017

As the second oldest track meet on the U.S. circuit, the Drake Relays remains one of the premier events since its inception in 1910. Known as the “American’s Athletic Classic,” it is held annually on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The most famous athlete ever to compete there was the great Jesse Owens. It was April 25-28, 1935, a year before he would board an ocean liner bound for Germany, and the Ohio State sophomore was making a name for himself as one of the most electric sprinters and jumpers in the country.

The official Drake Relays website sets the scene. “Owens had just finished winning a heat of the 100-yard dash when he was called to the broad jump. Scarcely pausing, he raced down the cinder runway and soared more than 26 feet for the first time in his career. The official reading was 26 feet and 1.75 inches, an American record and less than an inch off the world record. Most remarkably, Owens took off 9 inches before reaching the 8-inch takeoff board, meaning he actually jumped 17 inches further than the world record.” On the final day, Owens won the 100-yard dash finals in 9.5 seconds to equal the meet record. Surprisingly, it was the University of Iowa and not Owens’s OSU squad that won the 4 x 100-yard relay. A member of the Iowa track team, Verne Schlaser, either clairvoyant or simply in awe of the other-worldly talent before him, had all four OSU relay members including the “Buckeye Bullet” sign their baton. Now it comes directly from the late Dr. Schlaser’s grandson. The two-toned blue and white baton has aged very well and remains in great condition. Owens' autograph has faded but is still very legible (4-5/10 in our opinion). The other autographs are difficult to identify; one appears to be Ray Sears.

One month later at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., Jesse Owens would break three world records and tie another in what Sports Illustrated has labeled the “Greatest 45 Minutes Ever in Sports.” He won a record eight NCAA individual championships, four each in 1935 and 1936, despite suffering the countless indignities that befell African-American athletes during that era. Yet, nothing could prepare Owens for the disdain and pressure he would face under the hateful eyes of Hitler and the Third Reich at the 1936 Berlin Games, where he delivered arguably the four most clutch performances ever documented in athletics. From the same auction house that sold one of Jesse Owens’ four Olympic gold medals for a record $1.45 million in 2013 comes another amazing piece of American history.

Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Letter of Provenance tracing ownership.

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids:6
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
 I Have One To Sell