The medals, which date from the club’s last top flight title wins in 1951 and 1952, were bought by the Hibernian Historical Trust at auction yesterday thanks to hundreds of donations from fans – despite the lot selling for more than six times its initial value.
A flurry of offers at the Thomson Roddick auction in Edinburgh saw the hammer eventually drop at £12,000 after fierce competition from a number of bidders. The nine carat gold medals, originally valued at between £1,000 and £2,000, are now set to go on display at Easter Road.
Trust curator Tom Wright said: “The final price was more than we were expecting, but it was worth it in the end. We knew going in that the valuation was always likely to be much lower than the actual price, but we never expected it to go that high.”
The legendary forward – who earned the nickname “Last Minute Reilly” for his late strikes for Scotland – was part of Hibs’ revered Famous Five forward line alongside Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond.
The centre-forward, who died in 2013 aged 84, scored 238 goals in 333 games for Hibs and won 38 caps for his country, netting 22 times.
Mr Wright said fans had enthusiastically backed the bid, with several “substantial” donations. The Trust is now planning to host an open evening at the stadium to thank members of the Easter Road faithful who contributed to the campaign, with the medals set to be on display alongside other artefacts from Reilly’s decorated career.