The Value of a Legend
Pre is the hottest
name in running memorabilia today. Anything related to Steve Prefontaine
commands a premium in the current market.
Just to establish
a benchmark for the value of Pre items, let's look at some examples
of actual sales that have occurred at auctions and privately.
most notable recent sale was the auction of a 1970's poster,
autographed by Pre.
The seller had
met Steve while he was making an appearance at a local running store
in Tacoma, Washington in the early '70s. The 2' x 3' poster was
signed by Pre and then forgotten in a closet for the last 25 years.
of Pre's autograph on the lower right of the poster.
At the auction
the bidding escalated rapidly, until finally settling at $560.00!
Even the buyer
was surprised by the price. He said, "I thought the poster
price was pretty high. I wanted the poster because I had seen two
movies about Pre. I think Pre is like the Ali or Jordan of track
and field, with one exception, he did it for the love of the sport,
not for the big money. It's hard to put a price on something this
died recently and his lifetime autograph collection of over
6,000 items, some dating back to the late 1800s, was broken
up and sold.
that collection, a 3"x 5" notecard signed by
Pre, was purchased for $200.00.
A commonly found
item that still brings a good price is the June 15, 1970 issue
of Sports Illustrated. Titled "America's Distance Prodigy",
it shows the Oregon freshman in his only SI cover appearance.
This issue with
a mailing label attached regularly sells in the $20.00 - $40.00
range. If your issue has NO mailing label and is in excellent
condition, it could be worth $100.00 or more.
March 6, 1999 Kenny W writes to tell us he sold an
unlabeled copy for $202.50 at auction. We are stunned!
November 28, 2004 Sean
P writes to tell us an unlabeled mint copy sold for $350.00
at auction. Nothing stuns us anymore...
Pre is fifth
from the right, in yellow and green.
Pre in 3D!
In 1971 GAF
Viewmaster produced a set of three reels highlighting the 1970 NCAA
Track & Field Championships. Pre competed as a freshman in the
was in doubt because he had cut his foot four days before the race.
As the booklet that accompanies the reels described:
cut the bottom of his right foot while running around a motel
swimming pool - six stitches needed to close it. "Pre"
had spent four days in bed, his foot wrapped in a Baggie.
For the NCAA
meet, they taped it and hoped the wound would not reopen. If it
did, Prefontaine said he would keep going until he "finished
or ran out of blood."
Pre won in a
meet record of 13 minutes 22 seconds.
sold for $44.00. Usually Viewmaster reels from this era go
for $5 to $10. The buyer said, "It was a total impulse purchase.
Since the package was still sealed I was just guessing that there
would be a picture of Pre in there. I probably paid too much, but
I've never seen this before. When would I find another one?"
appears on two 1978 Sportscaster Cards, part of a 2,000 card
set that includes almost every sport imaginable. These cards are
relatively common, but lately the Pre issues are being snapped up.
They were produced
in a few different languages. The card on the left is an English
version which has been selling in the $20 - $30 range. (Up
from $10 a year ago.)
The card on
the right is printed in Finnish and has sold between $15 - $40.
The wider price range seems to stem from the perceived rarity on
one hand, and the handicap of unreadable text for most collectors
on the other.
Sportscaster card info
Sportscaster cards for sale
copy of Pre's senior class yearbook from Marshfield High
School in Coos Bay, Oregon, was recently auctioned off.
to his senior portrait the yearbook has photos of Pre in action
for the track and cross-country teams.
The final selling
fact that there is a price tag attached to items connected to Steve
Prefontaine can seem a bit too commercial, but really it's unavoidable.
Anyone who has
had the impact on his sport as Pre has, and who continues to be
an inspiration to generations of athletes, will be be revered and
valued, even in the most basic of ways.
At a minimum
we can be certain that Steve Prefontaine's story will not be forgotten.
Pre drops a line to a runner with potential...