The iconic black singlet worn by athlete Peter Snell when he won gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics has fetched $122,500 at auction today.

A spokeswoman for Cordy's auction house said it sold under the hammer this morning.
The singlet, worn when Snell won the 800- and 1,500-metre gold medals was initally expected to fetch up to $50,000.

Snell, now 77 and living in Texas, had no idea how the singlet came to be offered by Cordy's auction house in Auckland.

He hoped the singlet eventually would be donated to New Zealand's sporting Hall of Fame.

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Snell wore the singlet at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to win gold in both the 800m and 1500m running events - a feat which has never been repeated.

One of the most iconic and recognisable items from New Zealand's sporting history, it sparked a bidding war when it went under the hammer at Auckland auction house Cordy's this morning.

The Herald has been told that a New Zealand "institution" has bought the unique piece of sporting memorabilia.

Cordy's spokesman Ross Millar confirmed an institutional bidder purchased the shirt at today's hotly contested auction.

It would stay in New Zealand and eventually be put on public display.

"It will end up in an institution but I can't say where at the moment."

He was unable to say which museum or institution had made the winning bid.

However, it was understood the successful bidder would make an announcement about the purchase.

Mr Millar said there was fierce competition among a handful of phone bidders.

It eventually came down to a contest between two bidders on the phone.

He said it was great to see the iconic piece of sporting memorabilia be recognised as historically significant and even better that it was destined to stay in New Zealand.