An authentic replication of the 1970 Kentucky Derby (gr.I) trophy is currently being offered on eBay. Connie Peters, a daughter of the late Robert Lehmann, who owned the winning horse Dust Commander, posted the trophy on the online auction site.
After Dust Commander crossed the wire first, Lehmann requested that a duplicate be made of the owner's trophy.
"He received special permission from Churchill Downs to have a duplicate made, and that is the one that is up for auction," said Courtney Stinson Mangeot, public relations manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum. "It is not a common occurrence."
Lehmann's son, Larry, donated the original trophy to the Kentucky Derby Museum last year.
"The trophy we have in-house here at the museum is the original," Mangeot said. "We have verified that based on photographs taken from the winner's circle. There are markings on the marble base that are very unique, and they match up with the base that is with the trophy we have."
Peters chose to offer the trophy online because of circumstance.
"As for why I am selling it, it is for two reasons," she said. "I've got a small cat rescue, and I would like to get them a really nice setup. Also, with the trophy, it is not really something that you can display in a normal, middleclass area without worrying about if it is going to get stolen or damaged. I can't display it and let people enjoy it, and one has already been donated, so I figured this way I could at least do something for the cats."
The trophy has a starting bid of $100,000, and the auction ends Jan. 31. As of Jan. 24 there were no bids, but Peters said she is not in any hurry to get it sold and has turned down an offer of $70,000.
"I want it to go to a good home," she said. "I've had a lot of people calling to get the meltdown value. Melting it down seems like sacrilege. It truly is a beautiful trophy, and I just figured I would give it a try. If it doesn't sell, I'm not any worse off than before."