Do a search on Olympic collectibles and the majority of links will most likely be "pins", but that's not all there is to Olympic collecting by a long shot. It all started with the 1896 Olympics and a menu from the International Olympic Committee dinner. That same year saw the issuance of Olympic stamps to help balance the Olympic budget. These two items, one specifically made to generate revenue and the other a souvenir from a dinner, started the phenomena of Olympic Collecting we see today.
Lapel pins are usually the way most Olympic collectors start out, they are inexpensive, colorful and not too hard to find. Although there are stringent requirements regarding the designs and producing of pins, there are plenty to be found from the different venues and sponsors for the games.
- Pin Resources
- What makes a Pin Collectible?
from Aminco International Inc.
- A Practical Guide to Trading and Buying Pins on the Internet
author Dr. Michael Miller of MyPins.com.
But after the pins what next? One Olympic memorabilia dealer said people start out with pins, but if they want to venture further out into the Olympic field the next step often is the Participation Medals. These are the medals given to all participants and usually the Olympic officials and members of the IOC. Images of many of these medals can be found on the Ingrid O'Neil Sports & Olympic Memorabilia web site. The prices of the medals can range anywhere from $150. to the $19,000 recently paid for a medal from the 1904 St. Louis games.
The next step for the serious collector are the torches used during the runs. The recent Atlanta Olympics had approximately 13,000 torches produced and they have been sold for around $2500. Other torches are also available, including the Munich 1972 torch for $2750 from a production of 6700. Take a look at the following sites to see close-up pictures of some of the torches and to get an idea of the current values.
If you followed online auctions during the 2008 Olympics, you would have seen the prices of Phelps cards and memorabilia rising with each successive medal. But the question is what will happen now? Will the prices continue to climb, stabilize or go back to the previous levels?