A Nobel Peace Prize medal will be auctioned off in Baltimore in late March. The 1936 award was first discovered by an American collector in a South American pawn shop about 20 years ago. Since then it has been brought back to the United States and will be awarded to the highest bidder. The prize was originally presented to Carlos Saavedra Lamas, the foreign minister of Argentina from 1932 to 1938.
A collectible prize
The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1901 to Jean Henry Dunant – an originator of the Geneva Conventions – and Frederic Passy – founder of the French peace society. Since then, the award has been given to such notable international figures as Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Elie Wiesel. Nobel laureates receive gold medals upon their receipt of the prize. Since its inception, there have been only 94 recipients of the medal. As such, the medals make for very rare collectors items.
Latin America's first laureate
In 1936, the award went to Carlos Saavedra Lamas for his work in ending international conflicts through diplomacy. Born to a wealthy Argentinean family, Lamas received a Ph.D. in Law and worked as a professor of constitutional law before being elected to the legislative assembly, where he went on to become foreign minister. It was at this post that Lamas pushed Argentina to join the League of Nations in 1932. Also during the 1930s, Paraguay and Bolivia were engaged in what was known as the Chaco War. Lamas was instrumental in bringing an end to that conflict through the implementation of the Treaty of Nonaggression and Conciliation, which was an international agreement to not recognize any territorial changes that were the result of wars of aggression. This treaty was signed by all South American countries in 1933. Lamas' work in uniting the continent led him to be elected president of the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1936, the year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The gold content of the medal is alone worth more than $9,000. That, combined with the fact that it is a one-of-a-kind collectible, will likely push the final auction sale price through the roof. Collectors interested in rare pieces will find a large selection of antique and collectibles auctions on iCollector.com.