Olympics: Today's trash could be tomorrow's collectible

Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:28am EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Those lucky spectators streaming into the Olympic Park for Friday's opening ceremony would be well advised to keep their ticket stubs, and any other ephemera related to the occasion, if only for their great-granchildren's sake.

If they have not already binned it, they might also want to hang on to the stiff postal envelope that the coveted tickets arrived in.

In the world of the Olympic memorabilia collector everything associated with the Games is of potential interest, even if it could be many decades before anyone can turn the trash into cash.

That alchemy, the act of trying to identify the base matter that might one day be transformed into saleroom gold or family heirloom, is all part of the fun.

As the late IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, a noted philatelist, once declared: "Collecting is the sport of the spectator".

Medals will always be the most obviously sought after items, because each one carries an individual story, has an intrinsic value and there are not many of them handed out.

Relay torches are also good sellers and pins have been traded for decades now.

"Once you get beyond the medals though, it becomes much trickier to predict what might become valuable or collectable in the future," Lionel Willis, a memorabilia expert with London auctioneers Bonhams, told Reuters.   Continued...