Olympic Pin Trading Information ~ 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain
London fever is in the air! Anticipation of the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games is at a fever pitch and the countdown is now in days instead of months or years ahead. With all of the media focused on the upcoming games, it brought back happy memories of my husband's and my attending the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain back in 1992. It made me think of the little satchel of Olympic pins that we had collected and I recently brought them out to have another look at them.
Often it is in attending one of the Olympics, either summer or winter games, that one is first introduced to the Olympic pins and the craze that can sometimes develop in trading them with others. There are monetary values attached to the pins of various categories and some people actually specialize in collecting certain types of pins.
Barcelona Olympic Pin from Summer Games in 1992
Barcelona '92 Olympic pin
Leading up to the Olympics...
The competition between potential host cities is fierce and they vie for the honor of hosting the Olympic games with the planning stages often ten to twelve years or more in advance. Obviously this entails much coordination between private and public entities to successfully win the bid.
Infrastructure for the Olympic venues, and enough lodgings for participants and visitors to the host city must often be built. Security measures must be taken into consideration to ensure safety for everyone. This entails a huge financial commitment on the part of the host city. Obviously they hope to recoup much of the money spent from the swarms of people world-wide who attend the Olympics, and also continuing afterwards, because of the added publicity brought to the world's attention.
Olympic pins are even created at this stage. They are called Bid Pins. There are also Countdown Pins. There are undoubtedly many that have been created prior to the upcoming London Olympics. Sometimes these are issued years in advance!
Sponsor Olympic Pin - AT&T, 1992
Olympic Sponsor Pins
Any event that captures the world's attention, such as the Olympics, is a great stage for publicizing one's company or organization. Because of the high costs of successfully hosting Olympics, official sponsors who spend money or offer supplies are welcomed. The sponsors can advertise that they are helping to support the Olympics, thus it becomes a winning proposition for both entities. This participation has really grown exponentially ever since the mid 1980s.
One can find many Sponsor Olympic Pins being traded at such events. In our case, the company Georgia Pacific was our host and they gave us each a handful of Georgia Pacific Olympic pins with which we could trade.
As I indicated in the hub I wrote about the Barcelona Olympic Opening Ceremonies, most of the pin trading that took place (in our case) was as we progressed up the hill to the opening ceremonies venue high atop Montjuic.
It was fun!
People wore them on their hats, shirts, ties or had handfuls and would approach asking to trade this one for that one. When language was a barrier, they often just smiled and gestured. That is how we acquired the Olympic pins that we now have in our possession.
Merrill Lynch Olympic sponsor pin from 1992
Selection of Olympic sponsor pins
There were several other types of Olympic Sponsor pins that we acquired that will be shown here.
Three different ones of them were from the investment firm Merrill Lynch. But there were others represented as well.
It all depended upon which people were closest to us in the crowds that day and were wishing to exchange pins.
Corporations such as Skippy Peanut Butter; Sprite, M&M's; Xerox; Coca Cola; Uncle Ben's Rice and even the U.S. Post Office Express Mail have all been official Olympic sponsors.
But this just scratches the surface of all of the numerous sponsors that are happy to support and also publicize the Olympics as well as their own companies.
The television channel that will be broadcasting live Olympic coverage to the United States has had the Olympic circles posted on their site in a subliminal way for quite some time now. We see it every time we flip on that particular channel.
As you can readily see from looking at these Olympic pins, they often sport a national logo, flag or symbol upon them.
Some of the pins are really elaborate and colorful. Others are more simple in design. It all depends upon the image the company or organization wishes to portray.
Did you know that the first exchange of Olympic pins were actually badges made out of cardboard? These were given to not only the athletes but also the Olympic officials and the news media. They began trading them as an exchange of good will and the tradition has continued to this day although most of them now are made out of various types of metal.
Olympic Pin - Trading a Tradition
Cobi...one of the mascot pins for the '92 Olympics in Barcelona.
Mascot Cobi used on Coca Cola Olympic pinClick thumbnail to view full-size
Olympic Mascot Pins
Mascots have been created for each Olympic game and they debuted during 1968 at the winter games held in Grenoble, France. The first one looked like a skier and was named Schuss.
Waldi was the name of the Munich mascot which looked like a dachshund dog during the summer games in 1972. Some of the other mascot names familiar to people include the following: Misha, from Moscow in 1980; Sam from Los Angeles in 1984; Izzy from Atlanta in 1996; Amik from Montreal in 1976 and Athena and Phevos from Greece in 2004 among many others. Sometimes they are a single mascot, and in the case of China, they actually had a total of five!
Since the beginning they have come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the general intent is to represent the cultural heritage of a particular country in one way or another. Some of them are fairly recognizable and others are more abstract.
Mascot pins are very collectible.
Cobi which was the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics represents in Cubist style a Catalan sheepdog. We saw Cobi mascots everywhere in Barcelona that summer!
Some of the sponsor pins would also use the mascot on their designs as can be viewed on this Coca Cola pin.
Many of the pins that are purchased come on cards like shown here...front and back.
Olympic sports pin
Olympic sports pins
Obviously all of the many different sports played during Olympic games also are represented with pins.
We got to attend an equestrian event outside of the City of Barcelona which was fun because we got to see some of the countryside as well.
We probably traded with someone at that event to get the pin that is a part of our collection.
USA Olympic pin - Barcelona 1992
Sub-categories of Olympic pins
Avid collectors of Olympic pins often specialize in categories or even sub-categories.
There are many who only collect National Olympic Committee pins which are sold to raise money.
Some like collecting the Media Pins from the various entities who attend and record these games. There are Press Pins, Team Pins, Commemorative Pins, and Olympic pins from different countries just to name some others.
Whether one is a serious collector or not, trading Olympic pins can be fun.
They can be purchased from various sources and range from discounted prices as low as several dollars up to $50, $60 or even higher all depending upon the rarity and popularity.
Beyond the Medal: Olympic Pin Trading
Shown here are a few more pins we collected at the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992.
If you are planning to attend the Olympics in London, England this year, be prepared for the fun of some pin trading.
Just wear the ones you wish to trade on the outside of your clothing and trust me, you will be approached to trade some of them. If you have some favorites you wish to keep, put them aside and do not display them. That way no one's feelings will be hurt. Most of all...have fun!
Hope you enjoyed this article regarding Olympic pin trading and what we learned about it from our vacation trip many years ago.
From the start of modern Olympic games in Athens dating back to 1896, I doubt that they ever envisioned that pin trading would become somewhat of a sport all of its own!
More pins we collected in Barcelona...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Where we did our Olympic pin trading...
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