By Emily Goddard

Vin Baker's Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medal has sold for $67,643 at auction ©Getty ImagesThe gold medal won by United States basketball player Vin Baker at the Sydney 2000 Olympics has sold for $67,643 (£40,787/€50,949) at auction.

The medal is believed to be the first Olympic gold sold publicly by a pro US men's basketball player since National Basketball Association athletes began competing in the Olympics at Barcelona 1992.

It was sold at Grey Flannel Auctions' Hall of Fame Catalogue Auction of sports memorabilia and made almost five times the $14,080 (£8,494/€10,613) that Carmelo Anthony's Athens 2004 bronze medal went for.

Other items in the sale included Sparky Anderson's Hall of Fame induction plaque, which made $25,555 (£15,415/€19,264), and a game-used bat from Tris Speaker, which sold for $27,584 (£16,639/€20,793).

The gold-plated medal, which is actually made of silver, weighs 6.85 ounces, is 5 millimetres thick and measures 68mm across.

It is attached to a 39" turquoise-blue ribbon embroidered with "SYDNEY 2000" in silver.

The medal features a design by Australian designer Wojciech Pietranik; it depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, seated above the stadium and chariot along with "XXVII OLYMPIAD SYDNEY 2000". This translates to "Games of the 27th Olympiad Sydney 2000".

The artist's initials "WP" appear at the bottom of the design in relief.

The verso of the medal features the Olympic rings along with an image of the Sydney Opera House and an Olympic torch. "BASKETBALL" and "MEN" have been engraved along the perimeter.

The unnamed buyer will receive a letter of authenticity signed by Baker with the medal. 

The gold medal sold by Vin Baker is believed to be the first to be auctioned since NBA stars started appearing in the Olympics ©Grey Flannel AuctionsThe gold medal sold by Vin Baker is believed to be the first to be auctioned since NBA stars started appearing in the Olympics ©Grey Flannel Auctions

Baker averaged eight points and three rebounds per game in eight appearances at Sydney 2000, as USA Basketball went 8-0 to claim its third consecutive gold medal.

Former Seattle Supersonics and Milwaukee Bucks player was a promising NBA star before alcoholism took hold and his career was cut short.

Despite reportedly earning $105 million (£63 million/€79 million) during his NBA career, he hit financial struggles and has since had his house and restaurant foreclosed.

Earlier this year he joined Dennis Rodman's team in North Korea.

The most ever paid at an auction for Olympic memorabilia was £830,000 ($1.4 million/€1 million) last December for one of the four gold medals won by Jesse Owens at Berlin 1936.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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