Winning Bids: June 2014
$1.1 Million Carlos Saavedra Lama's 1936 Noble Peace Prize
For the first time at an American auction, a Nobel Peace Prize has gone under the hammer. Carlos Saavedra Lamas’s 1936 Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to the Argentine foreign minister for his role in ending the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, sold for $1,116,250 in March by Stack’s Bowers Galleries, a Southern California–based auction house that conducted the sale in Baltimore. The formidable price of the 23-karat gold medal speaks to the growing popularity of numismatics. In 2013 it was a $5 billion category, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild, a figure that included the sale of a record-setting $10 million silver dollar and the $2.27 million sale of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine given to Francis Crick. The Lamas medal was only the second Peace Prize to sell at auction in the award’s 113-year history; the first was the 1903 Sir William Randal Cremer Peace Prize in 1985 at Sotheby’s London for about $16,750. “This [Nobel Peace Prize] surprised us,” says John Kraljevich, a numismatics consultant for Stack’s Bowers. “Lamas is renowned in Argentina, but without the international fame that Crick has for discovering DNA. This sale exceeded expectations.” —A.M.
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