Olympic torches light up a memorabilia auction
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 6th December, 2016
Torches that carried the Olympic flame for every Olympic Games from 1936 to 2012 are part of the extensive Martin Sheppard collection of Olympic and other sporting memorabilia to be auctioned by Leonard Joel from 2pm Thursday December 8 at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.
Catalogue estimates for the torches vary from $5000-$7000 for the 1980 Moscow Games torch to $20,000-$25,000 for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics beacon.
Melbourne’s 1956 Olympic Games torch carries a $15,000-$20,000 estimate while the 2000 Sydney Olympics flame is a comparatively modest $6000-$8000.
Apart from the torches, the auction contains a range of Olympic memorabilia bound to interest the most avid sporting collector.
This includes the rowing team winner’s chalice from the first modern games – the 1896 Athens Olympics – which was to be presented to the winning team. However, the event was cancelled due to bad weather and the chalice kept by British Olympic officials for more than 100 years before Sheppard acquired it in 2007.
Other Olympic rarities include a 1924 Paris Olympic Games ‘Le Memoir’ Newspaper-Des Sports and an autographed card signed by Betty Robinson – the first female gold medallist for 100 metres track, achieved in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
Unusual items include a pair of 1948 London Olympics dessert bowls, 1956 Melbourne Olympics ephemera – including tickets, athletic programs, serviette, first day cover and mini-diary – and Melbourne’s Olympic bid document from about 1949.
The auction also contains framed photographs, coins, medals and other items from various Olympics.
Memorabilia commemorating other sports is prominent among the collection, including 1930s tennis trophies, a 1912 tennis leather holdall (with racquet and balls) and an 1880s crossed tennis racquet ink set.
Another tennis item is the c1880 ‘Venus Rosewater Dish’ – a replica of the ladies Wimbledon championship trophy.
The collection includes a range of model cars and aeroplanes, art books, sterling silver, furniture, sculpture and pottery by Merrick Boyd and Marguerite Mahood.