Zola's 1932 Olympic Pin Collection


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See my list of pins for trade and sale.

The spirit of the games are felt worldwide once again with this years upcoming Olympic games. With the games, also comes "pin fever" as thousands of Olympic pin traders take to the Olympic village in search of new pins. I don't anticipate this years games being any different for collectors, and i know many have gone to China in search of that perfect pin. For the rest of us, please check out my pin trading page and see if we can add something to each others collections.
Countries, Corporations and Olympic Sponsors from all over the world, produce vast numbers of cloisonne, domed and enamel pins. All depicting the spirit of the games, the pride of their country, along with advertising their companies. Souvenirs of an important time and place in history.
Please see my list of pins for trade and for sale. Pin trading came to the United States with the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games. Crowds of people from around the world filled the streets of the Olympic village all eager to trade sports oriented pins. Before the games of 1980, pin trading was known only to world travelers and skiers trading from resort to resort in Europe and Asia. If you would like to find others to trade with go to my pin trading section.
Researchers of pin trading and collecting were astounded to learn the announcement of a new pin could spread world wide in 24 hours. Never before had so much attention been paid to the little works of art. Today, with the aid of the Internet, pin mania can spread much quicker. New pin collectors are recruited at each Olympic games, making pin collecting one of the fastest growing hobbies.
Pin mania came to Los Angeles with the 1984 summer games. Anheuser Busch was the first sponsor to give formal recognition and encourage pin trading. By setting up a special booth, shaped like a six pack of beer, not only could they advertise their company but also house a festive area for pin trading. Coca Cola soon followed suit.
Before long, pin trading and collecting had become a serious hobby for many people. As with anything involving a collection of scarce items, the dealers came to Los Angeles too. Unfortunately in order to get some of the rarer pins, we are forced to seek out dealers to purchase pins from. I have been very fortunate on how my collection got started.
Being a photographer I got my share of photographs of the flaming torch at the Coliseum. After all, it is a rare glimpse we usually have of seeing the Olympic torch up close and personal. Therefore, I felt the need to photograph the torch runners and well as the sight of the games both in daylight and night. While there taking photographs I could not help seeing the action of the pin traders going on around me. When I had found out some of my regular clients at my job would be perfect contacts to obtain pins from their companies, I pulled as many strings as possible to get as many different corporate pins as I could.
Many of the pins were of such high quality, the more pins I had in my possession, the more I wanted my collection to grow. My father who collected old service and unusual pins, came across three original pins from the 1932 Los Angeles Games. Needless to say, I was ecstatic over these new treasures. I went back to the Coliseum to show off my prized treasures. Instantly people were offering me lots of money for the 1932 pins. In a stupor I came to the conclusion that if people would offer me this kind of money for a metal medallion, I certainly had something special and chose not to sell either of them. I doubt these pins would bring in such a high price today.
Before I knew it I had collected quite a few pins and had spent very little money getting most of them from clients. In dealing with clients, I was able to collect many duplicate pins of which I could use as traders to get pins I lacked. The more pins I obtained, the more I wanted a larger collection. I had no idea the number of sponsors out there producing pins.
As the years went by, I tried writing to sponsors and companies to obtain more pins. I generated a form letter with my computer but found people liked the handwritten personal request, rather than a prepared letter. During the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, I had not gotten much response to my requests. It was not until the 1996 Olympics I got back into the thrill of obtaining pins. I resorted back to writing request for pins.
New area for you the collectors."PIN TRADING" Add your email or site here and help keep the trading alive. All you have to do is drop me a line to Zola and request your name be added to pin trading page. It's a free service and my pin page gets quit a bit of traffic. Depending on how full this page gets I will leave ads online for at least 6 months or until you the user ask to have it removed. So don't be shy, share your comments or tips to other pin collectors. If you would like to be listed on this page as a trader or you have a web site on Olympic pins, drop me a line and ask to be added to Zola's pin page.
Many people have asked me to give them values on pins in their collection or how do they know which pins to keep and which pins to trade. Here is what I tell them...
Pin collecting is an addicting habit!!! It is also a changing market too. For example at the times of the games pin collecting is CRAZZZZZZZZY and then 3 months from the closure of the games,it dies down again for many collectors.
Pins that were in high demand during the games suddenly drop in prices, AND every pin collector is different and places different values on their pins. For example some collectors collect only mascot pins, some only media pins, some only venue pins, some on winter games, some only summer games, some just country pins, some just a particular sporting event, and some collectors like me that collect pins from all the games in all categories.
To me the more valuable pins are those that are from past Olympics, 1980 and before. Sometimes I can find these pins dirt cheap because collectors around L.A. don't care too much for them. I have a lot of 1984 pins that when I go to trading events in my area, no one wants to trade for them. But I sell them like crazy to people outside my area, towards the east coast, and especially in other countries. Pin collectors from other countries trade me what I consider great pins for pins they probably consider not so great pins. Pins you can't get in your immediate area suddenly become more valuable to you. I also see a lot of dealers at some of the pin trades I go to. These dealers have values on some pins that are insane to me. Even if a particular pin is worth what they are asking, I could never bring myself to pay that type of price for a metal memory. I think the highest I have ever paid for a pin was $35.00 for a 1932 pin. It's not to say the pin may not be worth the money being asked, just to me there are too many other pins out there to keep me happy.
I wish collecting pins could be as simple as say collecting coins, where there are printed pricing books on what values will bring on the market today and tomorrow and down the road. Then everyone would comply to the same values. There were a few people who tried to publish catalogues but depending on who you talk to, the prices were way off.
What works for me is that I just love pins. To me they are all worth different values because of either how hard it was for me to find them, or the way I got them, or I just like the way they look. I give more value to older pins. The way I look at it is older pins were not mass produced like the pins of today are and there are less of them around. Heck I have probably already 300 pins from the games in Salt Lake City and it is 2 years away. Some of these pins are already selling for top dollar and there are thousands of them produced in hundreds of different patterns. It's getting crazy out there.
What I have noticed is that media pins always bring the most money. So I hang on to them. Also country pins are always a good bet as well as bid pins from the host cities trying to get the games in their state or country. To a mascot collector, none of these have much value but only to trade away for more mascot pins. Pins given on a special night only to certain people that you can't get in the general public will always have a value.
When I find pricing for my pins on my trading page I look around at many other pages and see what others are asking for their same type pins. If it sounds reasonable that is the price I will use. If I have 10 of the same pin, I will knock my price down just to sell them quicker. If it was hard for me to get a pin I will charge a little more. Sometimes I am cheaper than other sites, sometimes more. I tell people on my pin page to make me an offer if they really want a pin and don't want to pay as much as I have marked. Every time someone has done that, in a reasonable mode, I have complied. I prefer to trade as that is, at least to me, the fun of collecting and how pin collecting first came about.
So until the day someone publishes an actually guide, that all pin collectors adhere to, I say a pin is worth what someone wants to pay for it. You can have a pin you feel is worth $100.00 but without a buyer you just have a pretty piece of metal in your collection. Hope that helps you new collectors.

Copyright 1996- 2012 Nancy Bearnth