Before you, your spouse or your mother finally decide to turf your Shell 1988 Olympic Winter Games pin set in the midst of de-cluttering frenzy, consider this: Someone in Bulgaria is selling the same collection for $315 on eBay at this very moment.
For Canadian buyers, repatriating those pins back to home soil would cost a medal’s weight in gold in shipping fees though, and there are plenty of closer sellers and online platforms to buy from, sell to or otherwise barter with for Olympic memorabilia.
Usedeverywhere.com, which has set up local market websites across the country, is one. The Canadian online buy-and-sell site has gone about sourcing some notable Olympic items for bidders to review.
Some Olympic memorabilia however, is priceless.
“I went to the ’88 Games and saw the Jamaican bobsled team live — and I’ve got the sweatshirt,” said Lacey Sheardown, director of marketing for Victoria-based usedeverywhere.com said. “There’s no way I’m putting that up for sale.”
But for nostalgic buyers, there’s no shortage of biddable items, including on rival digital trading bazaar, Kijiji, where prices on memorabilia range from $8,500 for a limited edition Stephen Holland painting of Sidney Crosby from 2010, to a couple bucks for those commemorative glasses sold by Petro-Canada during the Calgary games.
The top 10 most expensive Olympic memorabilia items sold at auction in recent years (sale date):
1. Jesse Owens 1936 Olympic gold medal
$1.46 million (sold December, 2013)
African American sprinter’s gold medal from the ’36 Berlin Games. The current owner is the Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, who bought the medal at auction in December.
2. Wladimir Klitschko’s 1996 gold medal
$1 million (March, 2012)
The Klitschko brothers’ charitable foundation sold the medal from the Atlanta Games to an anonymous Ukrainian millionaire in March 2012.
3. Bréal’s Silver Cup
$861,129 (April 2012)
The third most expensive item of Olympics memorabilia sold is the special decorative silver cup awarded to Greek marathon runner Spyridon Louis as a prize for winning the first marathon race at Athens 1896, the first Games in modern history.
4. Rare Beijing 2008 Olympic commemorative gold coin
$575,000 (January, 2011)
Only 29 of the 10 kg coins were minted, with one being sold by Heritage Auction Galleries in January, 2011.
5. Helsinki 1952 Olympic torch
$360,000 (April, 2011)
With 22 held by collectors, the ’52 Torch is one of the most sought after items among buyers. The last one sold in Paris in April, 2011.
6. Lake Placid 1980 Olympic gold medal, ice hockey
$310,700 (November, 2010)
The gold medal won by Mark Wells, a member of the ‘miracle on ice’ Team USA that beat Russia in the ’80 Games.
7. Grenoble 1968 torch
$247,500 (October, 2012)
There are 33 known torches from the Grenoble Games in France.
8. Sochi 2014 Commemorative gold coin
$232,200 (October, 2013)
An unknown Russian buyer purchased the 3 kg gold coin from a Sberbank branch in the Amur Region of Russia’s Far East.
9. Helsinki 1952 Olympic torch
$148,000 (November, 2006)
Another of the 22 known torches from the ’56 Games. A Greek auction house sold the item in the fall of 2006.
10. Bobby Pearce archive (medals, photos, awards, etc)
$76,260 (July, 2012)
Australian-Canadian rower who won Gold for Australia at 1928 and 1932 Summer Games in Amsterdam and Los Angeles. Pearce spent later part of his life in Canada.