Lot #4054
London 1948 Summer Olympics Gold and Silver Winner's Medals

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Estimate: $30000+
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Tremendous pairing of gold and silver winner’s medals issued to legendary American swimmer Jimmy McLane at the London 1948 Summer Olympics. As a 17-year-old underclassman at the Phillips Academy prep school in Andover, Massachusetts, McLane took home three winner’s medals from the historic XIV Olympiad—a silver in the 400-meter freestyle, and golds in the 1500-meter freestyle and the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay; it remains unknown to which event the offered gold medal belongs.

Both medals—gilt silver and silver—measure 57 mm in diameter and feature the same design patterns: the front is inscribed, "XIVth Olympiad, London, 1948," and features a 'Seated Victory' with the Coliseum in the background, and the reverse portrays a winner carried by jubilant athletes. The silver medal weighs 80 gm and the gilt silver medal weighs 81 gm; the latter also features slight areas of darkening and loss to gilt coating. After returning stateside, McLane had both medals permanently set within handsome bezel frames, both of which feature upper loops so that he could proudly display these medals in public or during special occasions.

Also included is a bronze participation medal issued for the London 1948 Summer Olympics, and a bronze United States Olympic Committee commemorative medal. Accompanied by a photo of McLane standing triumphant on the winner’s podium.

A sensational offering of winner’s medals from a truly momentous Olympiad—the London Games represented the first Summer Olympics since 1936 after a twelve-year hiatus due to World War II. Moreover, both medals are quite rare, as there were only 138 first place and 136 second place medals awarded at the London Games. Given their connection to McLane, a venerable pioneer of American swimming, these 1948 medals are hugely desirable and would be a significant addition to any Olympic collection.

From The Jimmy McLane Collection.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Olympic Memorabilia
  • Dates: #640 - Ended July 21, 2022