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Canadian auctioning first Olympic gold medal basketball

Olympic rings
Olympic rings
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According to the CBC News on Thursday, Canadian Jimmy Stewart of Pickering, Ontario plans to auction off the very first basketball used in the gold medal game of the Olympic men's basketball tournament. The game was played between the United States and Canada at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

According to the report, Jimmy Stewart's father James of Windsor, Ontario played in the game for Canada which was won by the United States by a score of 19-8. After the game, James Stewart gave the ball to his wife who walked off the court with the basketball wrapped underneath a blanket. James Stewart thought at the time the basketball could be used as a souvenir.

Interestingly, Canada played the United States in the gold medal basketball game on a tennis court. That story itself is a little bizarre because tennis was not a full medal Olympic sport at the time.

It is Canada's only medal in the history of Olympic basketball competition. During the tournament, Canada defeated Hungary via a forfeit, Latvia in the second round by a score of 34-23, Switzerland in the third round by a score of 27-9, Uruguay in the fourth round by a score of 41-21 and Poland in the semi-finals by a score of 42-15.

Jimmy Stewart showed interest in auctioning off the basketball when he heard the original rules of basketball, which were written by Canadian icon James Naismith (the inventor of basketball), were sold recently for $4.4 million US. The process of that particular sale was part of a documentary on ESPN in their outstanding 30 for 30 series. Also a gold medal won by American track star Jesse Owens was recently auctioned off for $1.47 million.

Stewart has currently been in contact with Goldin Auctions. Stewart's hope is to get somewhere between $250,000-$750,000 for the basketball. The basketball will be auctioned starting July 12.