November 19, 2013
"SCP Auctions is privileged to handle an item of such profound historical importance," said Dan Imler, Vice President of SCP. "Jesse Owens is not only remembered for his incomparable feats in the Olympic arena in Berlin, but for his unrelenting character in the face of oppression and his indomitable spirit that continues to inspire millions of people throughout the world. It leaves one nearly speechless to behold this medal. It survives as one of the world's most poignant symbols of triumph."
Jesse Owens, the son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave achieved what no Olympian before him had accomplished. His stunning performance during the 1936 Olympic Games not only discredited heinous claims of the dictator, Adolf Hitler, it also affirmed that individual excellence rather than race or national origin, distinguishes one man or woman from another. The Olympics were only the starting block for Jesse Owens ultimate victory. Through his living example he held out hope to millions of young people. Throughout his life, he worked with youths, sharing of himself and the little material wealth that he had. He was as much the champion on the playground in the poorest neighborhoods as he was on the oval of the Olympic Games. Owens' 1936 Olympic gold medal, with its in-depth history and captivating provenance, is expected to set a record for Olympic memorabilia, as it could sell for upwards of $1 million. Amidst all of the political turmoil in Germany presided over by Hitler, Owens captured four gold medals (the 100 meter, the long jump, the 200 meter and the 400-meter relay) and broke two Olympic records. Unidentifiable to a specific event, this is the only documented example among the four originals awarded to Owens in 1936. He gifted the medal as a token of gratitude and friendship to the legendary dancer and movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson after Robinson helped Owens find work in the entertainment field in the years following his Olympic triumph. The medal is being sold by the estate of Robinson's late widow, Elaine Plaines-Robinson.