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Olympic Trophy From First Marathon Fetches $867,000

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Olympic Games Poster 1948
"OLYMPIC GAMES LONDON 1948." The poster, by Walter Herz, was included in an auction of vintage posters and Olympics memorabilia at Christie's International in London on April 18. Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- The cup awarded to the Greek winner of the first competitive marathon at the inaugural modern Olympic Games sold for a record 541,250 pounds ($867,000) today, outstripping estimates of 120,000 pounds to 160,000 pounds.

The Breal’s Silver Cup was originally presented to runner Spyros Louis at the Games held in Athens from April 6-15, 1896. Louis, a water carrier, is reputed to have sipped cognac on his way around the track in the Panathinaiko Stadium.

“Our family has been very proud to have the honor of looking after this important historical sporting trophy for the last 116 years,” his grandson, also named Spyros Louis, said in a press release e-mailed by Christie’s International.

The trophy was bought by the Eleusina, Greece-based Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The price set a record for Olympics memorabilia at auction, beating the previous high of 290,000 euros ($380,000) paid for a 1952 Helsinki torch.

Today’s sale of Olympics memorabilia and vintage posters raised a total of more than 1.26 million pounds, including the premium.

(Richard Vines writes for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at rvines@bloomberg.net or http://twitter.com/Richardvines.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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