Bannister's record-breaking shoes sold for $412,000

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:36pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - The pair of running shoes worn by Roger Bannister when the Briton ran the first sub-four minute mile in 1954 were sold by auctioneers Christie's on Thursday for 266,500 pounds ($412,062.30).

The black kangaroo leather shoes, with six spikes on each sole, were accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by Bannister, 86, who was selling them to benefit charitable causes.

Expected to fetch between 30,000-50,000 pounds, they were bought by an anonymous bidder at the 'Out of the Ordinary' sale in London.

"These shoes are the last tangible link I have with the four-minute mile," Bannister had said before the sale. "All my trophies are now on display at Pembroke College, Oxford, where I was Master.

"They served me great purpose, I’m grateful to them. I think it’s the right time to part with them and I plan to give part of the proceeds to the Autonomic Charitable Trust (ACT) which encourages the area of neurological research to which I have devoted most of my life," he added.

"Other worthwhile causes in which I have an interest will also benefit."

Bannister wore the shoes on May 6, 1954 at Oxford's Iffley Road cinder track when he ran the mile in three minutes 59.4 seconds. A program from the meeting, with pencil notes for the race, fetched 4,375 pounds.

($1 = 0.6467 pounds)

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

The running shoes used by Britain's Sir Roger Bannister when he ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954 lie on the grass at Pembroke College, Oxford, during celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the event, May 6, 2004.  REUTERS/David Bebber