It’s not likely that medals from this Olympics will be auctioned any time soon, says O’Neil. “Not from Sydney — these games are too special and it is too soon.” These millennium Games have a special meaning to most athletes and Olympic memorabilia collectors, he adds.
But a gold medal from the U.S.-boycotted Moscow Games in 1980 — which is on eBay with a starting bid of $2,500 — is generating interest. The medal, from a player on the Czechoslovakian soccer team, was on auction before for $15,000 but failed to garner bids at that steep price. “But, this time our reserve price is very low,” says the gold medalist’s representative, who like the donor asked to remain anonymous. “So, we think it will go well.”
There is, as one might expect, a certain social stigma that comes with hocking Olympic medals. Several current sellers of Olympic items did not return ABCNEWS.com’s requests for interviews, and some past sellers have taken heat for their decisions to earn a buck off the Olympic dream.
“A member of the Czech Republic kayak team who won gold in Atlanta sold his medal after the games and was chided so much that he ended up giving the money to charity,” says the man representing the Czech soccer player who is selling his gold medal from the Moscow Games. “People get angry and sentimental about the Olympics.”