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Olympic memorabilia is nearly as diverse as the Olympic Games they represent. From pins and programs to stamps and tickets, a collector has opportunities to gather an array of merchandise depending on personal and sporting interests. In 1986, Greece hosted the first modern-day Olympic Games, founded by Pierre de Coubertin. This was the first year Olympic memorabilia was produced, with Greece issuing a set of 12 postage stamps.
At the 1912 Olympic Games, pins debuted to the public. Years later, Finland struck the first Olympic coins commemorating the 1951 Summer Olympics. Then, in 1972, the concept of an Olympic mascot was born, and a dachshund dog named Waldi became the first to represent the Games in Munich. Since then, the Olympic Games have produced other items such as programs, tickets, diplomas, medals, and torches, all considered popular memorabilia categories.
Today, the International Association of Olympic Collectors (AICO) is the principal association of collector organizations, and is recognized as such by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The mission of AICO is to promote philately, numismatics, and other memorabilia among collector clubs worldwide, and the organization’s website serves as a basis for information on Olympic memorabilia.
Gold medals were made of pure gold for the 1904, 1908, and 1912 Games. All gold medals since then have been made of sterling silver with gold plating
Only 22 torches were made for the 1952 Olympic Games. One of them sold for just under $500,000 on a Paris auction in 2011
A rare 2008 Beijing Olympic gold coin released by China Mint sold for $575,000 on auction in 2011. Weighing 22 pounds and measuring 7.09 inches, only 29 of these coins were minted