1936 Nobel Peace Prize to be auctioned in Maryland

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm •  Published: March 12, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — A 1936 Nobel Peace Prize discovered at a South American pawn shop is heading to the auction block.

The award will be only the second Nobel Peace Prize to come to auction and marked the first time an individual from Latin America had received the honor.

The New York-based Stack's Bowers Galleries is offering it for sale March 27 in Baltimore.

The 23-karat relic weighs 222.4 grams, which in today's market would make it worth $9,168 for the gold alone. As an object to collectors and world history, its value is much greater.

"I can't think of many public collections that have a Nobel Prize, never mind a Nobel Peace Prize medal," said Ute Wartenberg, executive director of the American Numismatic Society. "This is an incredible rarity."

The auction also includes the first Pulitzer Prize for Public Service to come to auction. The 14-karat gold medallion was presented to the now-defunct New York World-Telegram in 1932.

The Peace Prize is one of five Nobel awards created by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel along with recognitions in chemistry, physics, medicine and literature.

The 1936 Nobel Peace Prize recipient was Argentina's foreign minister, Carlos Saavedra Lamas, who was honored for his role in negotiating the end of the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia.

In the decades after his death, the whereabouts of the piece "fell into darkness," said John Kraljevich, a specialist in historical medals and a consultant to Stack's Bowers. Then some 20 years ago, an American collector got word of the medal showing up in a South American pawn shop, where it was purchased for the value of its gold.

A tiny file mark found on the medal's edge likely was made to determine its worth.