Although no longer considered an official Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (it did not follow the four-year cycle), the event revived the prospect of an international games following the abject flop that was the 1904 St Louis Olympiad.
Athens initiated several features that became tradition. This included the creation of an Olympic village and an opening and closing ceremony, at which athletes enter the stadium in teams following their national flag.
A modest 78 events were staged covering 14 sports, with these medals (this one not inscribed) awarded to the lead athletes in the individual events only.
The design is by Jules-Clement Chaplain (1839-1909), best known today as the art director of the Sèvres porcelain factory in its influential Art Nouveau years from 1896.
He chose as his subject the laureated head of Zeus holding the winged of Victory atop a globe with a view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon to the reverse.
This example was sold in Birmingham on November 29. These medals make only occasional appearances at auction, although a handful have sold in the US in the past decade for similar prices around $5000.