Going, Going Gone...Breaststroke

Going, Going Gone…Breaststroke

The Alexander Channel Cup, a three-foot George V sterling silver trophy, was presented to Henry Sullivan for being the first American and third person overall to swim the English Channel

His breaststroke crossing in 26 hours 50 minutes was celebrated in film that the London Daily Sketch described as “…the most interesting film we have ever seen, showing all details of this plucky American in “The Greatest Feat of Endurance of All Time,” swimming from England to France in 26 hours and 50 minutes, in a sea almost unfit for boats.”

88 years after his triumph, Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers of Boston, Massachusetts auctioned off the trophy at the Skinner European Furniture and Decorative Arts auction for US$20,000.

Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers described Lot No. 194 as follows:

Monumental and Historic George V Silver Presentation Trophy, “The Alexander Channel Cup,” Birmingham, 1910, Elkington & Co., makers, the cover with finial formed as winged Victory in classical garb holding a staff and standing atop a demilune platform with anthemion molded border and four S-scrolled legs, on a domed top with elongated leaftips and berrying twigs; the cup with a band of husks and leaves and extensively inscribed The Alexander Channel Cup Presented To Henry F. Sullivan. Who Swam the English Channel, Aug. 5th & 6th 1923. From Dover, England to Calais, France. Establishing World’s Endurance Record.

World’s Breast Stroke Record. 26 Hours 50 Minutes, on stem sculpted with two classical maidens, one holding a trident, the other a caduceus, on a circular stepped foot, with maker’s inscription along rim, ht. 37 3/4 in., approx. 373.4 troy oz
.”

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones