1920 Olympic Gold Medal from the Men’s 4×200 Free Relay Sells for $12,000 at Auction

A gold medal from swimming at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium recently sold at auction for $12,000. 

The medal features a gold-plated silver design with the inscription “Pua Kealoha, 2nd Position, 800 Meter Relay, American Team, Antwerp Aug. 29-1920”. It was auctioned by Ingrid O’Neil Auctions Inc., a company specializing in Olympic memorabilia. 

According to the company’s website, the medal was originally awarded to American Pua Kealoha for his contribution to the United States’ 4×200 freestyle relay that won first place and set a world record time of 10:04.4. On the relay, Kealoha swam the second leg of the race, alongside teammates Perry McGillivray, Norman Ross, and Duke Kahanamoku.

Auctioning off Olympic medals is not an uncommon occurrence. Earlier this year, an Olympic gold medal in swimming from the Berlin 1936 Games and a bronze from the Atlanta 1996 Games were both sold at auction for a total of almost $50,000 by a company called RR Auction. Notably, the 1936 Gold medal, accompanied by an autograph from Dutch swimmer Rie Mastenbroek sold for over $43,000. However, neither of those medals had inscriptions on them tying them to a particular athlete. 

Generally, while all Olympic medals hold significant value at auction, those that can be ascribed to a particular athlete or performance sell for significantly more, as was the case with Kealoha’s medal. 

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Smglsn12
24 days ago

I love looking at 100+ year old world record times! I wonder what watching the best swimmers in the world swim a 2:30 200 free looked like

Meeeee
Reply to  Smglsn12
24 days ago

check out the book The Watermen which is about the rise of Charles Daniels and switching from the trudgeon style to crawl style freestyle swimming and becoming an Olympic champion in 1908

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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