Olympic athletes may get paid a bundle for winning medals by their countries' Olympic committees, but what could they score if they sold their medals on eBay? Prices vary depending on the source, age, athlete, and Games location, but we've rounded up a few examples of amounts you might expect to shell out should you find yourself in a bidding war at Christie's.
- $20,000: Rick Harrison, star of The History Channel's Pawn Stars, hopes to sell an American-won 1996 Atlanta Olympics Games bronze medal for $20,000. According to him, another bronze medal in his shop won in Barcelona in 1992 will command a slightly lower price because it was awarded outside the US.
- $26,500: Just days before this year's opening ceremonies, Sotheby's auctioned a trio of medals from the 1908 London Games that sold for $26,500. A bronze second-prize medal from the 1896 inaugural modern games in Athens fetched $23,400 (gold and silver medals weren't introduced until subsequent years).
- $50,000: According to Olympic medal expert Jim Greensfelder, Michael Phelps's 19th gold medal could command $50,000 if it came with the proper documentation.
- $77,350: Meanwhile, Bonham's sold the two famed gold medals won by Australian rower Henry "Bobby" Pearce (the first person to ever achieve double golds) for $77,350 in July.
Keep reading for a few more examples.
- $250,000: The gold medal awarded to Tommie Smith after winning the track and field 200 meters in world-record time (and the Pumas he wore in said race) are currently on the auction block with a starting bid of $250,000.
- $310,700: In 2010, the gold medal awarded to Mark Wells, a member of the 1980 "miracle on ice" US hockey team, sold at auction for $310,700.
- $1 million: Heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko won gold in the first-ever Olympic Games that Ukraine competed as an independent nation. At auction earlier this year, his medal fetched $1 million, which he in turn donated to the Klitschko Brothers Foundation, which promotes education and sports among children.
- To be determined: On Nov. 30, Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills will help heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield offload several significant mementos including the bronze medal he won in 1984. Stay tuned for the selling price!
Of course, most Olympians and their families choose to keep their prized medals — to them, the value of these precious medallions far exceed any winning bid. To see what some of the most famous Olympic athletes are up to (beyond gazing at their medals), check out their careers post-Games!