12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte is auctioning off three of his silver medals and three of his bronze Olympic medals this July. The medals are up for auction at RR Auction out of Boston, Massachusetts.
The medals are broken up into three separate auction items. The first item up for auction is Lochte’s 2004 Athens Olympic silver medal. Lochte won this medal in the men’s 200 IM swimming a time of 1:58.78 just behind Michael Phelps who won gold in a 1:57.14. Currently, there are five bids on the item at $1,075. The item is estimated to be worth $10,000+.
The next item(s) up for auction are Lochte’s two bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lochte won one of the bronze medals in the 200 IM swimming a time of 1:56.53 behind Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh (1:56.52) and Michael Phelps (1:54.23). The second bronze medal is from the 400 IM. Lochte swam a time of 4:08.09 finishing behind Cseh (4:06.16) and Phelps (4:03.84) once again.
Currently, the two bronze medals have 16 bids now at $14,15o. The current bid is already over the price estimate of $12,000+.
The final auction item is the two silver medals and one bronze medal Lochte won at the 2012 London Olympics. Lochte won one of the silver medals in the men’s 200 IM swimming a time of 1:54.90 to finish behind Phelps who swam a 1:54.27. The next silver medal is from the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay. The team of Nathan Adrian, Phelps, Cullen Jones, and Lochte swam a time of 3:10.38 to finish 0.45 seconds behind France. Lochte also captured the bronze medal in the men’s 200 backstroke. Lochte swam a time of 1:53.94 to finish just behind Japan’s Ryosuke Irie (1:53.78) and Tyler Clary of the United States (1:53.41).
The 200 IM silver and 200 backstroke bronze are Lochte’s last individual medals he won at an Olympics as at the 2016 Rio Olympics he only won a gold medal as a member of the United States Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. The medals from London currently have six bids and are now at $8,054. The auction-house estimate of their value is over $60,000, though that is much higher than medals of this vintage, especially silver and bronze medals, go for.
The six medals up for auction are all of Lochte’s silver and bronze medals. In total, Lochte won six gold, three silver, and three bronze across the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics.
In addition, a 14K White Gold Olympic Ring and a watch purchased by Lochte after the 2012 London Olympics are also up for auction. The ring currently has one bid at $500 and is estimated at $8,000+. The watch has three bids and is currently at $605. The watch is estimated at $10,000+.
Olympic medals do come up for sale with some regularity, and the value is often tied to the fame of the person who wins it. The most expensive medal ever sold is believed to be a Jesse Owens gold medal from the 1936 Games, where he famously won three in defiance of the host Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. Nobody is certain which of the three gold medals that was, and it sold in 2013 for $1.46 million.
At the time, that was the most-valuable piece of Olympic memorabilia ever sold, surpassing the $865,000 paid for the silver cup that was awarded to the winner of the first-ever modern Olympic Games marathon in 1896, Spyridon Louis of Greece.
In 2005, Swimmer Anthony Ervin auctioned off his 2000 Olympic gold medal in the 50 free for $17,100 to benefit disaster relief from the 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia. Ervin would eventually return to the pool to win another one, in the same event, in 2016.