Jen­ner Olympic Torch gets US$24K at auc­tion


The 1984 Sum­mer Olympic Torch that Bruce Jen­ner, now known as Cait­lyn Jen­ner, car­ried through Lake Ta­hoe, Ne­vada, sold for just un­der US$24,000 at an auc­tion of sports mem­o­ra­bilia Thurs­day.

The 60- cen­time­ter Olympic torch was the first ma­jor piece of Jen­ner mem­o­ra­bilia to go to auc­tion since the win­ner of the 1976 Olympic De­cathlon Gold Medal be­came Cait­lyn Jen­ner. It had a pre­sale es­ti­mate of US$20,000.

The seller was Bob Lorsch, a Los An­ge­les phi­lan­thropist and en­tre­pre­neur who or­ches­trated the Ta­hoe leg of the torch re­lay and se­cured Jen­ner’s par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“This torch serves as a won­der­ful sym­bol that mas­culin­ity and fem­i­nin­ity are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive,” said Chris Ivy, di­rec­tor of sports auc­tions at the Dal­las-based auc­tion house. “The de­cathlon has long been con­sid­ered the ul­ti­mate ath­letic prov­ing ground. Jen­ner has played both gen­der roles master­fully.”

Jen­ner was ap­proached to carry the torch as part of the Los An­gles Sum­mer Olympic Games to help sup­port Cae­sars Ta­hoe’s agenda of giv­ing back to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and pro­mot­ing area youth pro­grams, Lorsch said. The ho­tel casino held a draw­ing for a chance to win a place in the re­lay and spon­sored 50 kilo­me­ters, or about 31 miles, of the Ne­vada route. Seven kilo­me­ters went to in­di­vid­u­als and 42 to lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions. Jen­ner was asked to run the re­main­ing kilo­me­ter.

“Cae­sars saw it as a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity ... to do some­thing more spe­cial, never re­al­iz­ing that we would be creat- ing what is truly a piece of history that orig­i­nated as a piece of sports history, then evolved as a piece of en­ter­tain­ment history through the Kar­dashian legacy and be­com­ing a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non through the tran­si­tion to Cait­lyn,” Lorsch said.

Bet­ter known to a younger gen­er­a­tion as the pa­tri­arch on TV’s “Keep­ing up With the Kar­dashi­ans,” Jen­ner an­nounced ear­lier this year that he was tran­si­tion­ing to be­come a woman.

The torch, which was pur­chased by an anony­mous Mid­west col­lec­tor, was among the high­lights of the auc­tion held by Her­itage Auc­tions in Chicago.

A circa 1860s Brook­lyn At­lantics team base­ball card that had been in the same fam­ily for over 150 years sold to an anony­mous buyer for more than US$ 179,000, easily sur­pass­ing its pre­sale es­ti­mate of US$50,000.

The seller of the pre- Civil War base­ball card was Florence Sasso, of Great Bar­ring­ton, Mas­sachusetts. The card shows her great-great-un­cle Archibald McMa­hon, an out­fielder for the squad, pic­tured with eight of his team­mates in bib-style shirts and two gen­tle­men in suits.

“My mother gave it to me about 25 years ago,” t he 75-year-old Brook­lyn na­tive said in an in­ter­view last month. “We had my grand­fa­ther’s bed­room set, which had se­cret draw­ers, and she kept it there. ... She gave it to me be­cause no one else wanted it.”

The At­lantics were a found­ing mem­ber of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Base Ball Play­ers — the sport’s first or­ga­nized league that held the cham­pi­onship from 1859 through 1861.


In this 1984 file photo pro­vided by Her­itage Auc­tions, Amer­i­can de­cath­lete Bruce Jen­ner, now known as Cait­lyn Jen­ner, poses with the 1984 Olympic Torch he car­ried through Lake Ta­hoe, Ne­vada.

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