Breal's Silver Cup
Selling price: $861,129

The Olympics didn't always hand out gold medals. When Greek marathon runner Spyridon Louis won the first marathon race at Athens 1896, the first Olympic Games of the modern era, he was given a silver cup made by French designer Michel Breal -- who suggested to modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin that the marathon be part of the games. The cup had previously handed down by Louis' heirs until it was sold at an Olympics-themed auction by Christie's in April 2012 just before the London Games.

Its long journey doesn't end in London, however. The cup was bought by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation with the intention of returning it to a recession-ravaged Greece. It had been on display the Acropolis Museum in Athens until September of last year, until it was placed in storage. It now awaits the completion of a cultural center to be built by the Niarchos Foundation in Athens that is scheduled to open next year. Only then does this cup's long Olympic journey end.

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