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O.C. Firm Sees Hot Market for Olympic Emblems

June 25, 1996|GREG JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

1924, Paris: Athletes bridge language barriers by exchanging team pins as a gesture of international goodwill.

1960, Squaw Valley (Calif.): Sylvania Electric issues first Olympic sponsor pin at Winter Games; limited quantity makes it popular with collectors.

1980, Lake Placid (New York): Olympin, first Olympic pin club, is formed following Winter Games.

1984, Los Angeles: Interest in pin trading reaches new heights with media and team pins the most sought-after; first pin guide published.

1988, Calgary (Canada): Coca-Cola sponsors its first Olympic Pin Trading Center; Jamaican bobsled team pin becomes prized possession.

Price Guides

* Common pins: Most traders exchange these one for another; some are willing to pay extra ($5-$8) for a pin they really want and have been unable to find.

* Collectible pins: Prices for limited-issue pins have ranged from $9 to more than $10,000. An athlete's team pin from the 1906 Athens Olympics recently brought $11,000. Prices tend to rise shortly before and after the Games.

For More Information

1996 Olympic Games Pin Society, P.O. Box 182264, Chattanooga, TN 37422

Sources: Official Pin Guide of the 1996 Olympic Games, Aminco International Inc.; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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