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Right A medley of memorabilia: from a 1908 athlete's vest to Olympic postcards and commemorative stamps of the IOC Session in Singapore, where London was elected to host the Games Commission, the Federation of Olympic Philately, and an international Olympic stamp expert, attributes his passion to a childhood gift from a friend's grandmother. "Now it's changed," he says, "but at the time there wasn't so much to collect. As a boy I liked sport, and stamps were interesting because of the artwork, as well as history and geography. I took a small book of stamps to school and showed the teacher, who encouraged me."James Greenfelder, also a member of the IOC Philately, Numismatics and Memorabilia Commission, and widely regarded as an expert on pins and medals, fell for pin trading when he was invited to the Los Angeles Olympic Games as the guest of a sponsor. "The bottom line is that by day three I was so much into the pin trading that I stopped going to events," he explains. "My wife got very angry. Fortunately I didn't miss Daley Thompson securing his gold medal."Greenfelder's collections - which have ranged from beer steins to cinema cards, and led to the creation of four websites dedicated to pins, athlete medals, participants' medals and Olympic car badges respectively - grew so vast he had nowhere to put them. "I covered all the walls in my office with framed pins so I put them on the ceiling," he says. "I was working on how I could put them on the floor." Little wonder that he was able to donate a collection of some 15,000 pins to the Olympic museum in Lake Placid.Historically, collectors have tended to be private individuals not officially connected with the IOC, but recognition of the community continues to grow. Former IOC Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch, himself an avid stamp collector, was instrumental in forging a closer association between collectors and the IOC and even including philately in the Olympic charter. The Olympic Philately, Numismatic and Memorabilia Commission was established in 1992, and this year ? "I covered all the walls in my office with framed pins, so I had to put them on the ceiling. I was working on how I could put them on the floor..."James Greenfelder Coin collecting began when the first Olympic coins were first struck in 1951, and, from 1980, when corporate sponsors began to create commemorative pins at Lake Placid, frothing spectators into "pin fever", Olympic memorabilia evolved yet again. The first Coca-Cola Official Olympic Games Pin Trading Centre, established in Calgary in 1988, attracted a crowd of more than 17,000 each day. Just over 30 years later, Coca-Cola describes pin trading as "The No. 1 Spectator Sport Of The Olympic Games". Some Games also create cult collectors items, such as the red mittens at Vancouver 2010. What drives people to collect? Maurizio Tecardi, a member of the IOC Philately, Numismatics and Memorabilia OLYMPIC REVIEW 61OLYMPIC COLLECTIONS

It wasn't just the Olympic flame that got handed over in Athens in May this year - the Greek capital also played host to the 18th World Olympic Collectors Fair.The world's largest Olympic memorabilia show originally took place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in 1994. Since then it has been held around the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Beijing, to the 17th host city, Chicago. This year over 100 official participants flocked to the event, which was hosted by the IOC and Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).Open to the public as well as collectors and dealers, this was the place to buy, sell, trade or even simply admire stamps, coins, pins, mascots, torches - and almost every other form of Olympic memorabilia imaginable. And, with the start of the London 2012 Games little more than two months away, collectibles from 1908 naturally got special attention.Alongside the Fair this year was an Olympic Memorabilia Exhibition, charting Greece's relationship with the Olympic Games from 1894 to the present day, and a temporary Hellenic Post office. Fittingly, all were located in the Zappeion, the first known building to be constructed purely for Olympic use. Official participants were also lucky enough to be invited to the flame ceremony in Olympia. The 19th Olympic Fair, to be hosted in April 2013, will be held in Norway.18TH WORLD OLYMPIC COLLECTORS FAIRthe Juan Antonio Samaranch Medal for Olympic Collecting was awarded for the first time. The inaugural medals highlighted excellence in collecting stamps, coins, pins, and other memorabilia. But what will the winners of future medals be recognised for? One of the key principles behind Olympex 2012 is the hope of inspiring future generations. "Millions of tweets and emails will have been sent during London 2012 and will get lost," says Bob Wilcock, stamp collector and Vice-President of the Society of Olympic Collectors. "But some are wonderful. And if you can save them then that's history." ?Near Right Pin trading is now an integral feature of any Olympic Games Far Right Business was brisk at the 18th World Olympic Collectors Fair, held in Athens in May 201262 OLYMPIC REVIEW OLYMPIC COLLECTIONS