Marathon memorabilia sets auction record
Christie's in South Kensington has held a special auction involving a unique piece of Olympic history.
A silver cup won by the first ever modern Olympic marathon runner has been sold for £541,250 in a London auction house - the highest ever amount for any Olympic item.
Measuring just six inches, Breal's Cup was put up for sale by runner Spyros Louise, whose grandfather had won the cup in 1896.
Olympic historian Alexander Kitroeff believes the silver piece is one of the most important artefacts related to the modern games.
He added: "The fact that the family managed to preserve the cup through more than a century of tumultuous events including several wars and foreign occupation of Greece symbolizes the importance that Greeks attach to their ancient heritage and the Olympic Games."
The auction was eventually won after some heated bidding by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The organisation is planning to open a new cultural museum centre in Athens in 2015 and wanted the cup as a key display to attract visitors.
Previously the most expensive piece of Olympic history bought at auction was a torch used in the 1952 Helsinki games which sold for a total of $400,000 (£249,516).
Auction buyers planning a stay in central London hotels should consider a trip to Christie's. The South Kensington auction house is one of the country's busiest salerooms and holds more than 100 auctions per year.
Based on Old Brompton Road, the auction rooms are just a few minutes' walk from South Kensington tube station and offer a free valuation service Monday to Friday for those hoping to find out how much their prized possessions could be worth.