From trash to potential cash

  • Reuters, London
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2012 00:06 IST

Those lucky spectators streaming into the Olympic Park for the 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.

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.

"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.

"From this Games, we are generating an enormous amount of material of all sorts of ephemera, both printed material, bits of kit and souvenirs and all this sort of stuff - none of which is particularly special right now.

"But in 100 years' time it may well be that just a scarf from an Olympic 'meeter and greeter' in the Park might be valuable, because there's only one left."

To prove his point, a cotton swimsuit and cap worn by British backstroke swimmer Eric Seward at the 1908 Games sold for £3,250 at a Bonhams auction on Wednesday, despite the swimmer being eliminated in the heats.


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