If you’re one of the lucky ones attending the 2012 Olympic Games in London, you may want to hang onto pretty much any type of memorabilia you obtain along the way. Pretty much anything Olympic-related is desirable and thus increases in value over time. We’re talking about stuff that usually goes into the trash can, like ticket stubs, programs, and even the envelope the tickets came in.
If there were ever a time to think like a hoarder, this is it. Authentic Olympic memorabilia, including printed materials and trash, has value to collectors out there.
The LOCOG, the organizing committee behind the 2012 Games, has even setup an auction website dedicated to selling authentic Olympic items, such as an Olympic Torch carried by David Beckham, a relay baton, and tennis balls used at Wimbledon. The proceeds will help offset some of the costs associated with hosting the Olympics.
According to Reuters, some of the most valuable Olympic memorabilia ever sold include a cotton swimsuit cap from the 1908 Games sold for $5,000, and a scorekeepers badge sold for more than $2,500. The most expensive piece ever sold was a silver cup won by Greece’s Spyros Louis in the 1896 Olympics, which sold for $837,500.
Olympic “trash” like ticket stubs and other printed materials may not ever have six-figure value, but they will certainly increase in value over time. Besides, it’s not often that trash is actually an investment.
Lionel Williams, a memorabilia expert at London auctioneers Bonhams, stated "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."
This is only the second summer Olympic Games since eBay went global. Because of the Internet, and particularly eBay, it’s easier than ever to sell Olympic memorabilia. 2012 will no doubt be the busiest year ever for people looking to a make few bucks from Olympic-related stuff picked up from Olympic Park in London.
Doing a search for “Olympics” at eBay brings up more than 350,000 results, as of the date of this writing. Among the results are a signed Muhammad Ali torch and medal with a price tag of $75,000, and a hockey puck used in the 1960 USA vs. USSR game on sale for $51,750. There’s even a ticket stub from the 1932 Games with a starting price of $250.
The moral of the story is that there’s no such thing as trash when it comes to the Olympic Games. Nearly everything Olympic-related is desirable to collectors. As long as you’re patient, any type of printed materials or memorabilia obtained from the 2012 Olympic Games will almost surely gain value over the years. If nothing else, your grandchildren will thank you someday.