Fall Premier Auction 2017


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

"The World’s Fastest Human." For well over a century, this coveted designation has stood as the pinnacle of athletic achievement. Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and, most recently, Usain Bolt have all worn the crown honorably. But nobody has worn it longer than Jim Hines. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics—a Games rooted in racial controversy—the 22-year-old African-American sprinter won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 Meter dash to earn the prestigious title. He also set the world record by becoming the first ever to break 10 seconds, and he did so at the highest altitude for a Summer Games before or since.

The ’68 Mexico City Games have long been linked to Hines' U.S. Track & Field teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos, whose gold and bronze medals in the 200 Meter Final prompted their courageous Black Power salute on the podium. Faced with the same racial tension at home and abroad, Hines performed masterfully. On the evening of October 14, he glided to gold medal glory in the 100 Meter final with an official time of 9.95. As the fastest legal electronically-timed 100 meters to that date, Hines' mark was recognized exclusively as the new world record and it stood for 15 years—by far the longest stretch in history. (Calvin Smith would lower it to 9.93 in 1983.) A week later, Hines won his second Olympic gold medal in the 4x100 Meter Relay when he took the baton for the anchor leg in 3rd place before propelling USA to victory in a world-record time of 38.24.

Following the Olympics, Hines played parts of two seasons in the NFL for the Dolphins and Chiefs as a wide receiver. In 1979 he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Born in Dumas, Ark. and raised in Oakland, Calif. where he has lived most of his life, Hines became a member of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

This lot presents Jim Hines’ historic 4x100 Meter Relay gold medal with its original green ribbon as it was presented to him on the podium in Mexico City. It comes with impeccable documentation signed by Hines himself. Notwithstanding this example, it is extremely rare for any winner’s medal from the ‘68 Summer Games to surface. And you can count on one hand the number of golds offered publicly. The Adidas racing spikes worn by Hines to win double gold at the ’68 Games sold for $30,768 in SCP’s 2014 Spring Premier Auction. If that result is any indication, then one of his museum-worthy Olympic medals will certainly come at a premium.

As was the case with all post-1912 gold medals, this one is made of silver-gilt (vermeil) with gold plating. “XX OLIMPADA MEXICO 1968” adorns the obverse next to the Nike, Greek Goddess of Victory. The reverse shows a champion on the shoulders of celebratory athletes. The unique design by Italian sculptor Guiseppe Cassioli includes a thin 25mm square plate, attached by bezel setting, with a pictograph of a foot depicting Track & Field (Athletics) that connects to the medal on the obverse; the 4 x 100 Meter Relay event is engraved in Spanish (“relevo varonil 4 X 100 mts. planos”) on the reverse of this small plate. The green ribbon has a total length of 30 inches around and is exceptionally well-preserved. Measuring 60mm in diameter and 3.5mm thick, the medal alone weighs 120 grams, the event plate and ribbon adding another 12g.

Overall, the medal remains in Very Fine condition with minor surface wear and little to no oxidation. It should be noted that most gold medal examples from these Games do not exhibit such a uniformly thick coating of gold plating (a dearth of gold available for minting of Mexico City golds prevented this). This observation was made by a highly reputable numismatics evaluator.

Provenance: Hines used this 4x100M gold medal (plus his 100M gold and Hall of Fame ring) as collateral for multiple loans from a local Oakland pawn shop in the early 1980’s. Each time he needed to take out money, he signed a new slip. In fact, the entire book of receipts with the exact dates of each transaction have been kept intact for verification. Ultimately, Hines relinquished legal ownership of the items to the pawn shop. The original loan slips for each particular piece will be available to the winning bidder upon request.


See entire 4x100m race at 1:26:23 mark.

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $33,359
Number Bids:16
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