In the summer of 1933, 18-year-old Jesse Owens weighed offers from several Big Ten universities that desperately wanted him on their track & field teams. At the time, Owens was the most promising high school athlete in the nation, and for any school to land him would be a huge honor. In the end Owens chose The Ohio State University because they offered the best financial aid (plus it wasn't too far from his home in Cleveland). In the 1930s “financial aid” meant the guarantee of a job with which he could afford to pay his way through school.
Owens juggled his studies and job as an elevator operator with an exhausting training schedule. Under the coaching of Larry Snyder, Owens exceeded all expectations and set world records in the 220-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles and the broad jump. He was also named Team Captain, the very first African-American to hold that position in the Big Ten Conference. In 1935 at the Big Ten Championships, Owens broke three world records and tied one wearing his Ohio State singlet in what Sports Illustrated has dubbed the "Greatest 45 Minutes in Sports." After dominating the national scene yet again in 1936, Owens soared through the Olympic Trials to represent the United States at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he not only electrified the world with his four gold medals, but also shined a very positive light on the OSU athletic program. With the world’s greatest athlete associated with Ohio State, the university attracted the best students and athletes to their school. Upon his return from Berlin, a grateful Ohio State University presented the Olympic champion with this stunning Sterling Silver tea, coffee and flatware set.
Consisting of 37 total pieces, the highlight is of the set is an 11" tall coffee/tea urn (668g), a 10" coffee/tea server (608g), a 6" creamer (222g) and 5.5" sugar urn (224g). Each piece is engraved with his "JO" initials in a beautiful script monogram. The base of the four large pieces are stamped with “HAND CHASED”, “STERLING” and “421” along with a crown, “H” and shield. “O.S.U. 1936” is engraved into the base to further identify the significance of the set. The accompanying flatware has a wonderful floral relief pattern on each handle and the knives are marked with “The Steiff Co. Stainless Steel Sterling Handle.” The set also consists of six knives, five forks, four salad forks, six seafood forks, five butter knives, four tea spoons, one cake knife, one soup spoon, and one serving spoon.
An exquisite Sterling Silver serving set given by an appreciative university to its finest athlete, this treasured collection comes directly from the Owens family estate. As a side note that deserves mentioning, Owens' youngest daughter, Marlene, who also attended Ohio State, met and eventually married another standout track & field sprinter (Stuart Rankin) at OSU coached by the very same Larry Snyder whose tenure in Columbus lasted over 30 years.
Includes LOA signed by each of Jesse Owens' three daughters.