Te Papa has pulled the plug on the purchase of the singlet worn by Peter Snell in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
They have questioned its authenticity saying it is not the singlet that the Olympian wore when he won his gold medals.
Cordy’s auction house confirmed today that it would not be proceeding with the sale of a singlet which was sold for $122,500 at auction last week.
Te Papa said as it was unable to satisfy itself of the singlet’s authenticity and it has been agreed by the parties not to proceed with the sale.
They could still buy it, surely, and display it as a replica of the famous singlet? Although they’d have to be careful if they acquired the real black singlet not to mix it up with the fake black singlet, or even – heaven forbid – hundreds of of imitation black singlets I presume they planned to sell as merchandise. Although, if that did happen it would make a fascinating statement about authenticity and art and consumerism, and the fake singlets would become valuable installations in the national collection’s art gallery. Although the possible presence of the real singlet – which is historical, but ultimately only a singlet, not a work of art like the other singlets – would devalue it somewhat.