Olympic Gold Medal of Legendary Distance Swimmer For Sale on EBay

Let’s face it – 99.9% of us (and that’s being generous) will never even sniff an opportunity to make an Olympic team, let alone win an Olympic medal. One of SwimSwam’s co-owners, Mel Stewart, won three of them in Barcelona in 1992: two golds, and one bronze. He’s an exception to the rule.

That, however, is not to say that if you are of means and desire, that you can’t own an Olympic medal, and a piece of swimming history.

For the price of $25,000, you can buy an Olympic gold medal won by Hawaiian and Swimming Hall of Famer Ford Konno at the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland.

The listing doesn’t specify which of the medals specifically is listed, but in the details it says that he is willing to part with both the gold he won for the 1500 freestyle and the one he won for the 800 free relay.

In addition to his Olympic success, Konno is a former World Record holder in the 200 and 400 meter freestyles from his time at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ days as a powerhouse.

Konno also has a point in the books of swimming-meets-history, as he was a part of the first post-WWII team to race in Japan after the war’s conclusion. While there, he beat Japanese legendary distance swimmer Hironoshin Furuhashi in 1950 at the height of his swimming career. Furuhashi set 33 World Records in his swimming career, and rarely lost, though his 1952 Olympic appearance was plagued by Dysentary, meaning he never won an Olympic medal despite being one of history’s great freestylers.

The listing comes with a letter of authenticity signed by Konno, though it doesn’t include the following “buyer beware” disclaimer that probably warrants further inspection before shelling out such a large sum of money:

Mr. Konno recently had the gold medals re-plated as they had faded from polishing over the years.  He would often loan them out to different museums and schools for display (most recently to the Japanese Heritage Center in Honolulu on the island of Oahu).  When the medals would be returned, Mr. Konno’s father would proudly polish them.  Over the years, the original plating began to fade and Mr. Konno wanted to restore the medals to their original luster.

The EBay user “dankyboy” is also selling several other pieces of Konno memorabilia, including a set of Olympic participant pins and the trophy claimed to be awarded for Konno’s victory over his Japanese counterpart in 1950.

There’s not a lot of great swimming memorabilia available for sale on the web, especially as compared to the troves available from other sports like football, basketball, or baseball. Many swimming items are designed to be cheap and disposable. Suits used to be made out of paper. Caps shred for no reason in particular. Lost goggles more often find their way into the bag of a rec swimmer who forgets to return them borrowed from the lost and found than they do into the hands of a fan. If you can afford it, these opportunities don’t come along very often (Anthony Ervin and Poland’s Otylia Jedrzejczak are the other swimming golds that come to mind that have been sold.)

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Lane Four
7 years ago

I have been involved with auctions that specialized in the sale of Olympic medals (gold, silver and bronze) both Summer and Winter, and I can tell you that the price of the medal is way out of line. It will be interesting to see what the final sales price is.

mcgillrocks
Reply to  Lane Four
7 years ago

didn’t anthony irvin sell his medal for $22k?

newswim
Reply to  mcgillrocks
7 years ago

yes but that was for the benefit of charity and may have influenced the final price paid given the cause

Cabry
7 years ago

Osleidys Menéndez sold her 2004 javelin gold medal for $50,000 on ebay. It’s the professional auctions that can get so much more. There was one Ukrainian boxer who sold his gold medal for charity. It sold for $1 million and the buyer immediately gave it back.

Dankyboy
7 years ago

I am “dankyboy” from Ebay, selling the gold medal for Mr. Konno. I appreciate the post and link back to my listing! We have lowered the price to $18,995.00. Mr. Konno is open to offers (the $25,000 listing price was $25,000 or MAKE OFFER). We do have both gold medals as well as a box filled with other swimming medals, pins, belt buckles, trophy’s, etc. that he has won over his career. He is wanting to sell all of it as he’s nearing 80 and interested in further funding his retirement. Find a buyer and we will give you a finders fee.

Thanks very much!
[email protected]

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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