Pin trading at the Olympics

Pin selection

Pin trading is the sport at the Olympics for the spectators.  I have collected pins since I attended the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton.  At the time I was only collecting as souvenirs but as I attended more major events I realised that pin trading was big business.  Some folk only go to the host cities to pin trade.

In 1984 I attended the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. A nice lady in the tourist information office asked to swap my Scottish pin for her special Olympic pin.  She told me to take care of it and not give it away because it was rare pin.  I never thought much more about it and pinned it on my hat.

A few days later I was standing waiting to get into a venue when I was tapped on the shoulder and the guy behind me suggested I took the pin off my hat before someone decided to take my hat to get the pin.  He said there were very few of them available.

This got me curious and I stopped by the pin traders tent and asked the experts about my pin.  Turned out that there had only been 25 pins made of the one I had, making it very rare and much sought after.  The expert offered me $250 for it there and then.  If it was that rare I was not parting with it.  Besides, I was given it and that meant something to me.  I still have it.

Since then I have actively pin traded or even bought some when I found them.  Through my involvement with the Commonwealth Games I have built a decent collection.  I have had some mounted on foamboard and framed to hang on the wall and it is a talking point when people come to visit.

I am looking to add to my collection in Vancouver and I have already read a lot about what I should expect when I get out there.  Some folk have had their own pins specially made for the occasion.  I am taking with me to Vancouver the pins shown above and a few of the duplicates I have collected over the years.  I would like to thank those who helped me source these pins.


10 Responses to Pin trading at the Olympics

  1. Nancy says:

    Hi Joyce!

    We are looking forward to trading a pin with you! We just started trading Olympic pins! It’s been a lot of fun!

    Andrea announced a photo scavenger hunt for the 30th. James and I will be there and hope you will join us!

    Perhaps we will grab a drink after the hunt! Safe and happy travels!

    Nancy & James

  2. Hi Nancy

    Happy to trade a pin with you.

    I aim to join you at Andrea’s photo scavenger hunt. I look forward to seeing you there.


  3. Robert W. says:

    When you get here I have a special one for you which I don’t think you could have possibly gotten before. Just contact me!

  4. All this talk of pin trading makes me nervous! All the pins I have I don’t want to part with so maybe I just don’t get the whole thing. I’m coming to Vancouver with tons of Canada and Toronto pins. Maybe people from other countries will find those valuable. See you guys in Vancouver soon.

  5. Colin Harlingten says:

    I have various sporting pins from the 1978 – 1988 era. They come from countries attending the Commonwealth Games, World University Games where I worked as an official and the Calgary Olympics etc. I would be willing to GIVE the pins to a collector.

  6. Colin Harlingten says:

    There is only about 25 so if you tell me where to send them I will get them off to you

  7. stephen says:

    i have a wrigley’s set of olympic 2010 pins (excel, extra, juicy fruit) how do we go about trading or selling?
    how to qualify value of these vs what we are interested in?

    thank you

  8. dan says:

    hey everybody,

    I have an olympic pin that I have had a hard time finding any information on.

    The pin is about half inch in diameter.
    Gold colour. Has only the 5 rings on the bottom and some kind of star design or maybe a maple leaf (5 sided and with a whole bunch of criss crossing in the center.

    The back of the pin is stamped COA 1979.

    I would appreciate some feedback. I found this pin in an old collection of goodies at the bottom of a mystery box. Is it worth anything to a collector? if so how much aprox?

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