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A rare Nobel Peace Prize to be offered at auction

The ultimate prize for the ultimate contribution to the peace and security of Latin America and the Caribbean — to be offered at Christie’s in New York on 28 April

Fifty years ago, on 14 February 1967 in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City,  the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean was drafted and opened for signature. While a nuclear ban had been imposed on Antarctica in 1961, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, as it is also known, marked the first instance of a nuclear weapons-ban being applied to such a vast, populated area. 

On 28 April in New York, Christie’s will offer the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1982 to Alfonso García Robles (1911-1991), the driving force behind the Treaty of Tlatelolco. The treaty has kept Latin America and the Caribbean free of nuclear weapons to this day.


Alfonso García Robles, the Mexican diplomat who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his successful efforts to keep Latin America and the Caribbean a nuclear weapon-free zone. Photo Keystone Pictures USAAlamy


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Alfonso García Robles, the Mexican diplomat who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his successful efforts to keep Latin America and the Caribbean a nuclear weapon-free zone. Photo: Keystone Pictures USA/Alamy

A Nobel peace prize medal. Awarded in 1982 to Alfonso Garcia Robles. 18 carat gold, 2.5 inches (66 mm) diameter. Estimate $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in Exceptional Sale on 28 April 2017, at Christie’s in New York

A Nobel peace prize medal. Awarded in 1982 to Alfonso Garcia Robles. 18 carat gold, 2.5 inches (66 mm) diameter. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in Exceptional Sale on 28 April 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Known as ‘The Father of Disarmament’, García Robles joined his country’s foreign service in 1939. He was a delegate to the 1945 San Francisco conference that established the United Nations, a Mexican ambassador to Brazil, Mexico’s ambassador to the UN, and Foreign Minister of Mexico before becoming the nation’s permanent representative to the UN Committee on Disarmament.

‘In 1962 Alfonso García Robles watched the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold a mere 1,500 miles from the coast of Mexico, and he resolved to put an end to the horrific nuclear threat to his beloved country and to the entire region,’ explains specialist Becky MacGuire. ‘His unwavering dedication to the cause of disarmament resulted in the groundbreaking treaty that did end that threat.’

Alfonso García Robles signs the Treaty of Tlatelolco on behalf of Mexico on 14 February, 1967. Photo Courtesy of OPANAL Secretariat

Alfonso García Robles signs the Treaty of Tlatelolco on behalf of Mexico on 14 February, 1967. Photo Courtesy of OPANAL Secretariat

García Robles received the Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with Alva Myrdal, the Swedish sociologist and politician who was also a long-standing and vocal supporter of disarmament. ‘The Nobel Peace Prize honouring García Robles reminds us of the very best in humanity,’ adds MacGuire, ‘just as great, transformative works of art do.’

Founded in 1901, the prize is the most prestigious Nobel, and has been awarded to such world leaders as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, Lech Walesa, Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Only four other Nobel Peace Prizes have ever appeared at auction: the 1903 award to Sir Randal Cremer (Sotheby’s in London, November 1985), the 1926 prize awarded to Aristide Briand of France (sold for €12,2000 in 2008), the 1936 award to Carlos Saavedra Lamas (sold for $1,116,250 at Stack’s Bowers in Baltimore, March 2014), and the 1919 prize awarded to Auguste Beernaert, sold at Christie’s London in 2015, for $661,000.