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A week after the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was auctioned off on eBay, the medal collection of the country’s first Olympian, has been offered for sale.

The medal collection belonged to Rodney Wilkes, a weightlifting icon who won them between 1947 and 1958. Wilkes, of San Fernando, died two years ago.

Starting bid for the medals - US $28,000.

The collection consists of the 1947 World’s Weightlifting Championships Bronze Medal, the 1950 Central American and Caribbean Games Gold Medal, the 1951 Pan American Games Participation Medal, the 1952 Olympic Bronze Medal, the 1952 Olympic Participation Medal, and the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games Participation Medal.

They were advertised as being “all original and are in immaculate numismatic condition”.

Also offered were three official jacket patches of the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, and one of the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games which bears the colonial insignia, of which two are made using thick gold zari thread.

Among the particulars of the six medals, they were said to “bear the hand-etched signature/initials of their recipient, and the significance of the recipient athlete, in this case with Rodney Wilkes being the first Olympian and Olympic medalist of his country, weightlifter par excellence, an icon and a sporting luminary of Trinidad and Tobago, who contributed in the pioneering era of putting Trinidad and Tobago in the international sporting hall of fame”. These factors determine the final value of all medals. Further, we all know that Olympic medals and sporting memorabilia, especially those with provenance, are more in demand and attract much higher sale prices than those of statesmen and labour leaders”, the website stated.

Last week the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT) awarded posthumously in 2012 to labour icon Adrian “Cola” Rienzi, was sold via the same international e-commerce website for US $25,000.

The 18-carat gold medal was bought by ANSA McAL Group of Companies.

The decision to secure the award was lauded by minister of Labour Jennifer Baptiste-Primus.

She said that Anthony Sabga-led group of companies was setting a standard.

Seller: It’s a national treasure

Yesterday under the invitation to bid for Wilkes’ medal, the description of it stated: “Offered for sale. Is an extremely rare Olympic medal collection of Rodney Adlophus Wilkes (1925-2014), an icon, a sporting luminary, weightlifter par excellence, and Trinidad and Tobago’s fertatest weightlifter who became Trinindad and Tobago’s first Olympic medallist. And in so doing contributed in the pioneering era of putting Trinidad and Tobago in the International Sporting Hall of Fame”.

Under the heading titled “Value”, it stated the pricing of the medals are based on several combining factors that have to be taken into consideration.

“These factors determine the final value of all medals. Further, we all know that Olympic medals and sporting memorabilia, especially those with provenance, are more in demand and attract much higher sale prices than those of statesmen and labour leaders. Here now is an opportunity for any relevant/interested entity to acquire this extremely rare collection of six sporting and Olympic medals presented to Rodney Wilkes. It is highly hoped that there would be interested persons/entities in Trinidad & Tobago who would recognise the significance of having this collection remain in Trinidad and Tobago to continue building on the country’s (much previously-neglected) national heritage’, it stated.

The seller suggested it be put on display as a national treasure.

“Once acquired, these medals and the official Trinidad & Tobago jacket patches can be put on permanent display, where they can be readily viewed by a large flow of persons on a daily basis. For example, in the case with the medals of Ato Boldon, they are on public display in a glass case at the RBC Royal Bank, Park Street, Port of Spain. Perhaps a similar consideration can be given to these Rodney Wilkes medals: to be on permanent at a commercial bank, or even being a roving display at the branches of the commercial bank, every six months, or whensoever the bank decides. Similarly, if acquired by another entity, they can be displayed in the main entrance area or other designated area that is also widely used, such as at the Ministry of Sports, Central Bank, Airports Authority (at the arrival or departure area), large insurance companies, universities, or even at large hotels, which display works-of-art (and why not medals of accomplishment as well of a person of world achievement?)”.

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