Other Olympic Gold Medals have sold for significantly more, without the history of this piece. Even Super Bowl Rings have brought greater sums!
Jesse Owens’ gold medal from the same Olympiad sold for $1.46 Million!
This medal has the finest possible provenance as the most important medal for the first World Championship in basketball history. The Berlin 1936 Olympics were the first year basketball was officially recognized as an Olympic sport. Even at the outset, basketball was the largest team tournament of the Games, with 23 nations fielding teams. To commemorate basketball’s arrival on the world stage, James Naismith, basketball’s inventor, was brought to Berlin and given the honor of presenting medals to the winners of the tournament.
Sports Illustrated has called the 1936 USA Team the first Dream Team. William Wheatley captained the team, which was made up of a league of AAU amateur players and one collegiate player. The team also included Samuel Balter, the only Jewish athlete from the United States to win a gold medal in Berlin. Knowing Germany could not win the tournament, Hitler’s planners sought to downplay the sport, hosting it outdoors on clay and rain-sodden grass courts. Nevertheless, this medal is the most important artifact of the first basketball world championship, presented by the sport’s inventor to the USA Team Captain, and marks the commencement of American triumph in a truly global sport.
The Gold Medal includes photographs of William Wheatley receiving the gold medal from James Naismith, as well as other historical records to document its provenance. Unlike previous medals from the same Games, this Medal has been authenticated by NGC, ensuring its provenance.
Both basketball memorabilia and numismatic coins have been appreciating steadily over the last ten years. In both collectible worlds, Gold Medals have become recognized as extremely scarce numismatic works of art, with the best examples bearing unique historical and sporting provenance. Another medal, Jesse Owens’s gold from the same Olympiad, sold for $1.46m in 2014. Closer to this piece, another Gold Medal from the same 1936 USA basketball team and no third party authentication sold for $100,000-$150,000 in 2014. As the first Dream Team gold medal won at the first Olympic Championship, received by the team’s most important player, there is no finer Olympic gold medal or basketball collectible with this history, documentation or provenance to be had.
It is the stuff of Dreams. For the sports connoisseur or wise numismatist comes a coin that has literally been described as giving “goosebumps” upon viewing it, and not just by us.
See the NGC Article Below:
NGC Certifies First Olympic Gold Medal for Basketball Ever Awarded
Posted on 5/21/2020
The gold medal from the sport’s debut at the 1936 Berlin Olympics was presented to team captain Bill Wheatly by James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified the first Olympic gold medal for basketball ever awarded. This ultimate symbol of the sport’s rise to a global phenomenon was presented to US team captain William “Bill” Wheatly by James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
With Germany as the host country and the world on the eve of war, tensions were high during the 1936 Summer Olympic Games. The event — one of great importance to the history of sports and the world in general — would be the last Olympics held for 12 years.
Basketball, which had been invented by Naismith in 1891, made its Olympic debut at the 1936 Games. The championship pitted the US against Canada and was played on an outdoor dirt court during a rainstorm. On account of the playing conditions, the final score was only 19-8. The US team was helped by its height advantage that allowed it to pass the ball a little more efficiently, thus avoiding the soggy ground and puddles.
Naismith crossed the Atlantic to serve as the honorary chairman of the Olympic tournament and to award the medals at its conclusion. As team captain, Wheatly went up to the podium before his teammates, thus establishing his medal as the very first Olympic gold medal for basketball ever awarded.
The 1936 Olympic gold medal for basketball encapsulated in the NGC Oversize Holder.
Click images to enlarge.
This extraordinary representative of one the greatest achievements in sports features allegorical figures of victory on the obverse and reverse, the former bearing raised text that reads “XI OLYMPIADE BERLIN 1936.” The medal measures 55 millimeters in diameter and weighs 72 grams, which is accommodated by the NGC Oversize Holder. The NGC certification label prominently displays the medal’s impressive pedigree.
At the time he made the Olympic team, Wheatly, a native of Gypsum Kansas, was playing Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) basketball for his company team while working for Globe Oil & Refining Co. After the Berlin Games, he played AAU ball for several more years, and then coached for a while before going into carpentry in the late 1940s.
In the early 1970s, Wheatly’s house was burglarized, and several silver coins were stolen, but amazingly the gold medal in the same drawer was left behind. Wheatly was then persuaded to send the medal and other memorabilia to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The medal remained at the Basketball Hall of Fame until Wheatly’s death in 1992, when it was returned to his family.
Now securely encapsulated in the NGC Oversize Holder with its pedigree clearly identified on the label, this incredible piece of history is protected for posterity.
“To hold the first Olympic gold medal for basketball, presented by James Naismith during the consequential 1936 Berlin Olympics — it really gives you goosebumps,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “I am honored that its owner selected NGC to certify this important part of basketball history.”