BEIJING (NEXSTAR) — Athletes who have worked their whole lives to compete in the Olympics and who have eventually achieved the pinnacle goal of winning their competition at the games would likely tell you that their gold medal is priceless, but as famous pro-wrestler “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase said, “everybody’s got a price.”
“There’s not a lot of Olympic collectors, but the ones that are, they’re pretty passionate,” says Bobby Livingston, executive vice president for Boston-based RR Auction.
Recently an individual paid more than $88,000 for a medal from the first modern Olympic games in 1896.
“We’ve been holding Olympic auctions for probably the last five years,” Livingston explains. “It’s something we curate and take a lot of pride in, to try to get a medal or a torch or something from every single Olympiad. Which we accomplish.”
The last auction brought roughly $700,000 in sales and included a medal from the 1904 Olympics in Saint Louis.
“It came right from the family of the athlete after all these years,” recalls Livingston. “It stayed in the family for 120 years, they finally decided to sell it.”
Livingston says there are several ways to verify the authenticity of the medals, including tracking where it came from. There is also a more tangible way to see if it’s a real medal.
“We have an expert that knows the proper weights of a medal,” says Livingston. “So counterfeit ones, they don’t weigh the same.”