SCP Auctions’ The Beacon of Hope: The Luz Long Collection opens October 5, 2022. Bidding on the 32 lots will conclude Saturday, October 15, 2022 at www.SCPauctions.com. One of the most valuable and historically significant Olympic winner’s medals is coming to auction: Carl Ludwig Hermann “Luz” Long’s 1936 Berlin Olympics silver medal in Men’s Long Jump. Luz was runner-up to Jesse Owens in the event, but the real story was their awe-inspiring friendship formed in the heat of competition, making Long the most courageous sportsman in Olympic history.
The important medal headlines dozens of other Long family heirlooms that came directly from the Long family in a special spotlight sale from SCP Auctions’ entitled Beacon of Hope: The Luz Long Collection. Bidding kicks off Wednesday, October 5th and runs through October 15th at www.scpauctions.com.
When Jesse Owens arrived on the scene at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he was just 23 years old like Luz Long. Under pressure to perform as an African American on Adolf Hitler’s home turf, Owens won four gold medals but would not have won the long jump if not for an honorable assist from his top contender from Germany. After two failed attempts in the long jump trials, Owens only had one more shot at qualifying for the final round. At that moment, Long came up to Owens and suggested Owens change his mark and start his jump before the foul line so he wouldn’t scratch on his final attempt.
“Suddenly all the tension seemed to ebb out of my body as the truth of what he said hit me,” recalled Owens. “Confidently, I drew a line a full foot in back of the board and proceeded to jump from there. I qualified with almost a foot to spare.”
In the final, Owens took gold with a new Olympic record of 8.06 meters (26 feet, 5½ inches), while Long earned silver with a 7.87m jump. After the event, Long was the first to congratulate Owens and embraced him at the pit. After the medal presentation, the two walked around the stadium arm-in-arm and were celebrated by the crowd of 110,000. It was the purity of sportsmanship that Luz Long demonstrated; and for Long, Owen’s comment, “You forced me to give my best,” was the highest recognition for a sportsman. “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler,” Owens said. “You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment.”
Sometime after World War II broke out, Long was called to duty. Critically injured during combat in Italy in July 1943, he ultimately died from his wounds at just 30 years old. After almost seven years of searching for his remains, Luz’s wife received word on March 21, 1950 that his grave had been located in the German honorary section of the American military cemetery at Gela, Caltanissetta Province.
The brave display of friendship and humanity that day of the long jump exemplifies how Luz Long was a “beacon of hope” against everything the Third Reich stood for. When Long befriended Owens that day, he personified the Olympic idealism of IOC Founder Pierre de Coubertin and showed how sport has the power to transcend discrimination and nationalistic divides. In one mystical moment, Luz Long became the most courageous sportsperson in Olympic history. Regardless of how difficult the political climate would be for Long in the aftermath, his deeply sportsmanlike mentality drove him to help the best man win.
This silver winner’s medal is one of the most important Olympic items ever offered, outside of Jesse Owens’ 1936 gold medal that SCP Auctions sold in 2013 for $1.466 million. In today’s market, that medal would likely be worth $5 million or more. SCP Auctions estimates Long’s medal to go for $500,000 to $1 million.
- Luz Long’s Important 1936 Berlin Olympic Games Silver Winner’s Medal for Men’s Long Jump – Most Courageous Sportsman in Olympic History!
- Luz Long’s 1935-1940 German Passport (Original Signed) Used to Travel to Dozens of International Athletics Competitions at the Onset of World War II
- Luz Long’s 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Games Athletics (Track & Field) Participant’s Badge
- Luz Long’s 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Games Athlete Identification Pass (Signed Original) Issued by Olympic Organizing Committee
- 1933 German Athletics National Championships (Cologne) First Place Winner’s Medal for Long Jump Awarded to Luz Long
- Luz Long’s 1935 Leipziger Sport Club Athletics Identification Card (Signed)
For more information, visit www.SCPauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.