Solid gold medal awarded to a Swedish gymnast at the 1908 London Games
Exceedingly rare winner's medal issued for the men's gymnastics team event at the London 1908 Olympics. Gold, 33.5 mm, 25 gm, designed by Bertram Mackennal, Birmingham; manufactured by Vaughton & Sons, England. The front, inscribed, "Olympic Games, London 1908," features a victorious athlete being crowned with a laurel wreath by two seated females; the reverse depicts St. George, the patron saint of England, slaying a dragon as a goddess looks on. Stamped on the edge with Vaughton mint marks. Exhibits some minor tarnishing, mostly limited to the athlete's chest. Includes its attractive original red leather presentation case, with the top gilt-stamped with the event's name, "Olympic Games, Winner, Gymnastic Teams, London, 1908."
Solid gold medals were awarded at only four Games—1900, 1904, 1908, and 1912—making this an especially appealing early Olympic piece. Furthermore, only one gold medal was awarded to winning teams; each individual team member received a silver medal. Team gold medals from 1908 are thus incredibly rare. Sweden won the gymnastics team event, defeating Norway in an all-Scandinavian final. Given that only 250 of these pure gold prizes were struck in 1908, this is a remarkable and exceptionally scarce winner's medal from a popular event.