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Jesse Owens’ gold medal goes for $1.4 million in auction

Dec 8, 2013, 8:57 AM EDT

Jesse Owens AP

One of Jesse Owens‘ four 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medals sold for the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia on Sunday morning.

The medal sold for $1,466,574, according to its listing on SCP Auctions. There were 30 bids in the auction that began Nov. 20. The bidding price was at $370,000 with about 36 hours to go.

The company does not know if the medal is for the 100m, the 200m, the long jump or the 4×100m relay, all won by Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Owens triumphed in front of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

The previous record for a piece of Olympic memorabilia was $865,000 paid in April for a silver cup won by the winner of the first modern Olympic marathon in 1896.

An official with SCP Auctions said in August he expected the medal to bring in “several hundred thousand dollars.” Another SCP official said he expected more than $1 million in early November.

Owens gifted the medal to entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson after the 1936 Olympics, according to “Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of Bill Robinson.” It was consigned by the family of Robinson’s widow, according to SCP Auctions. Robinson gave Owens tap-dancing lessons, according to “Jesse Owens: A Biography.”

“It shows some wear, some handling wear,” SCP Auctions managing director Dan Imler said in August. “I would say a moderate degree … but it still presents very well.”

In 2010, 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey player Mark Wells sold his gold medal from the “Miracle on Ice” team for $310,700. Mike Eruzione sold his hockey stick from the U.S.-Soviet Union game and his jersey from the following game against Finland for $262,900 and $286,800, respectively, to a 9-year-old boy named Seven in February.

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