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Olympic Pin Trading Information: 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Barcelona Olympic Pin from Summer Games in 1992

Barcelona Olympic Pin from Summer Games in 1992

Olympic Games

With all of the media focused on the upcoming games, it brought back happy memories of my husband and I attending the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain back in 1992. It made me think of the little satchel of Olympic pins we collected, and I recently brought them out to have another look at them.

Often it is in attending one of the Olympics, either summer or winter games, that one is first introduced to the Olympic pins and the craze that can sometimes develop in trading them with others. There are monetary values attached to the pins of various categories and some people actually specialize in collecting certain types of pins.

Barcelona '92 Olympic pin

Barcelona '92 Olympic pin

Leading Up to the Olympics

The competition between potential host cities is fierce and they vie for the honor of hosting the Olympic games with the planning stages, often 10 to 12 years or more in advance. Obviously this entails much coordination between private and public entities to successfully win the bid.

Infrastructure for the Olympic venues and enough lodgings for participants and visitors to the host city must often be built. Security measures must be taken into consideration to ensure safety for everyone. This entails a huge financial commitment on the part of the host city.

Obviously they hope to recoup much of the money spent from the swarms of people worldwide who attend the Olympics, and also continuing afterwards because of the added publicity brought to the world's attention.

Sponsor Olympic Pin - AT&T, 1992

Sponsor Olympic Pin - AT&T, 1992

Olympic pins are even created at this stage. They are called Bid Pins. There are also Countdown Pins. There are undoubtedly many that have been created prior to each of the Olympics. Sometimes these are issued years in advance!

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Olympic Sponsor Pins

Any event that captures world attention such as the Olympics is a great stage for publicizing one's company or organization. Because of the high costs of successfully hosting Olympics official sponsors who spend money or offer supplies are welcomed.

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

The sponsors can advertise that they are helping to support the Olympics, thus it becomes a winning proposition for both entities. This participation has really grown exponentially ever since the mid 1980s.

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

One can find many Sponsor Olympic Pins being traded at such events. In our case the company Georgia Pacific was our host and they gave us each a handful of Georgia Pacific Olympic pins with which we could trade.

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Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Georgia-Pacific Olympic Pin

Most of the pin trading that took place (in our case) was as we progressed up the hill to the opening ceremonies venue high atop Montjuic. It was fun!

Olympic sponsor pin

Olympic sponsor pin

People wore them on their hats, shirts, ties, or had handfuls and would approach asking to trade this one for that one. When language was a barrier, they often just smiled and gestured. That is how we acquired the Olympic pins that we now have in our possession.

Reebok sponsor pin

Reebok sponsor pin

There were several other types of Olympic Sponsor pins that we acquired that will be shown here.

Three different ones of them were from the investment firm Merrill Lynch. But there were others represented as well.

It all depended upon which people were closest to us in the crowds that day and were wishing to exchange pins.

Corporations such as these have all been Olympic sponsors:

  • Skippy Peanut Butter
  • Sprite
  • M&M's
  • Xerox
  • Coca Cola
  • Uncle Ben's Rice
  • and even the U.S. Post Office Express Mail.

But this just scratches the surface of all of the numerous sponsors that are happy to support and also publicize the Olympics as well as their own companies.

Olympic Sponsor Pin

Olympic Sponsor Pin

The television channel that will be broadcasting live Olympic coverage to the United States has had the Olympic circles posted on their site in a subliminal way for quite some time now. We see it every time we flip on that particular channel.

As you can readily see from looking at these Olympic pins, they often sport a national logo, flag, or symbol upon them.

Some of the pins are really elaborate and colorful. Others are more simple in design. It all depends upon the image the company or organization wishes to portray.

Did you know that the first exchange of Olympic pins were actually badges made out of cardboard?

These were given to not only the athletes but also the Olympic officials and the news media. They began trading them as an exchange of good will and the tradition has continued to this day although most of them now are made out of various types of metal.

Olympic Mascot Pins

Mascots have been created for each Olympic game and they debuted during 1968 at the winter games held in Grenoble, France.

The first one looked like a skier and was named Schuss.

Waldi was the name of the Munich mascot which looked like a dachshund dog during the summer games in 1972.

Some of the other mascot names familiar to people include the following:

  • Misha, from Moscow in 1980
  • Sam from Los Angeles in 1984
  • Izzy from Atlanta in 1996
  • Amik from Montreal in 1976
  • Athena and Phevos from Greece in 2004 among many others.

Sometimes they are a single mascot and in the case of China they actually had a total of five!

Cobi was one of the mascot pins for the '92 Olympics in Barcelona.

Cobi was one of the mascot pins for the '92 Olympics in Barcelona.

Since the beginning they have come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the general intent is to represent the cultural heritage of a particular country in one way or another. Some of them are fairly recognizable and others are more abstract.

Mascot pins are very collectible.

Cobi which was the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics represents in Cubist style a Catalan sheepdog. We saw Cobi mascots everywhere in Barcelona that summer!

Some of the sponsor pins would also use the mascot on their designs as can be viewed on this Coca Cola pin.

Many of the pins that are purchased come on cards like shown here front and back.

USA Olympic pin 1992

USA Olympic pin 1992

Olympic Sports Pins

Obviously all of the many different sports played during Olympic games also are represented with pins.

We got to attend an equestrian event outside of the City of Barcelona which was fun because we got to see some of the countryside as well.

We probably traded with someone at that event to get the pin that is a part of our collection.

Olympic sports pin

Olympic sports pin

Sub-Categories of Olympic pins

Avid collectors of Olympic pins often specialize in categories or even sub-categories.

There are many who only collect National Olympic Committee pins which are sold to raise money.

Some like collecting the Media Pins from the various entities who attend and record these games. There are Press Pins, Team Pins, Commemorative Pins, and Olympic pins from different countries just to name some others.

Whether one is a serious collector or not, trading Olympic pins can be fun.

They can be purchased from various sources and range from discounted prices as low as several dollars up to $50, $60 or even higher all depending upon the rarity and popularity.

Shown here are a few more pins we collected at the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992.

If you are planning to attend any Olympic event be prepared for the fun of some pin trading.

Just wear the ones you wish to trade on the outside of your clothing and trust me, you will be approached to trade some of them. If you have some favorites you wish to keep, put them aside and do not display them. That way no one's feelings will be hurt. Most of all have fun!

Hope you enjoyed this article regarding Olympic pin trading and what we learned about it from our vacation trip many years ago.

From the start of modern Olympic games in Athens dating back to 1896, I doubt that they ever envisioned that pin trading would become somewhat of a sport all of its own!

For Further Reading:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2016:

Hi Susie,

So glad you enjoyed viewing these Olympic pins. It was surely an experience of a lifetime for us in collecting them. Cobi was a cute mascot.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on January 22, 2016:

What a great collection of the pins the 1992 Summer Olympics had to offer from so many different avenues. I love the cute Cobi the mascot pins. It would be fun to collect these pins for collectors. Lovely hub, Peg!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 22, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

Glad you liked this Olympic pin hub. Yes...the heat and humidity are terrible. My hubby and I just spent a couple hours outside trimming shrubbery and had to quit. Will finish another day. Just heard the news and it said that the "feel like" temperature was around 100 degrees. Wish we had gotten this job out of the way earlier in the year.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 20, 2015:

I don't think there are any summer Olympics this year, but I'm pretty sure there are next year. This is such an informative article for anyone who may want to start collecting the pins. A great way to learn about collecting them and get started.

So awful hot here with the high humidity. I know there won't be a break until December. I know the humidity is even worse down there. One nice thing is that it's good for your skin.

Hope all is well with you. Take care . . .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 04, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

So glad you enjoyed learning about the various types of collectible Olympic pins. Guess you could write a hub about your collection of political pins. It is amazing what different types of pins are collected...and their meanings and ties to history.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 04, 2014:

What an interesting article! I didn't know anything about this Olympic pin trading before. You have some very interesting pins. Enjoyed learning about this entire process, the sponsor pins, mascot pins, media pins, and the trading process. Previously I've collected political pins but had no idea about Olympic pins or what it was all about. Really appreciate this article.

Gave you 5 more stars, pinned to my 'Fun & Interesting Subjects' board, voted up and useful/interesting/awesome. The share button isn't working for some reason.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2013:

Hi toptendeals,

Hopefully you will be able to attend the Olympics someday.

Jason Benedict from Boca Raton, Florida on August 09, 2013:

This article makes me want to attend my first Olympics =)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2013:

Hi Angel,

I sent you an email from my gmail account. Let me know what you are thinking by emailing me back. Thanks!

Angel on May 08, 2013:

Hi I'm Angel of Barcelona Spain

Are you interested in changing pins?


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2013:

Hi Indian Chef,

Yes...that is the whole point...being able to exchange one type of Olympic pin for another. Some people really study it and make smart exchanges that can increase in value. We just did it for fun and ended up with the ones featured in this hub. Thanks for your comment.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on April 12, 2013:

Peggy this is wonderful Hub. I didnt even know that olympics had pins leave aside so many kind of pins. I am really envy of you having so many pins. They are beautiful. So do people exchange them too like as kids we used to exchange postage stamps which we used to collect.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2013:

Hi beingwell,

The Olympic Pin Trading is a fun part of attending any Olympic event. We surely had fun in Barcelona, Spain! Thanks for the 5 stars and your comment.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 26, 2013:

Voted up and rate 5, peggy! Looks at all those pins! Very impressive.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2012:

Hi vespawoolf,

As we learned, Olympic pin trading is part of the fun of attending Olympic events. Prior to our going...I would also not have known about this collectable idea. Just like any collections...there are people who really study this and make some money by doing it effectively. We were just there and doing it for fun.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 11, 2012:

After reading your Barcelona hubs, I feel like I've taken a trip with you to see the 1992 Olympics! I'd never heard of the pins, but it sounds like a lot of fun to trade them and collect the maskot pins. What an amazing experience. I really enjoyed reading about it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 02, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

I know what you mean. Sometimes the Olympic mascots are a bit more abstract in design and harder to figure out. Olympic pin trading is fun. Not sure what I will end up doing with the ones we collected...but looking at them makes for some fun memories. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on November 01, 2012:

I have to admit that I didn't understand the London Olympic mascots. But I caught the pin trading fever back in 1984 when they held the Olympics here in Los Angeles. Sam the Eagle was the mascot, and he was a bit more comprehensible than the London ones. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2012:

Hi Ruchira,

We were really lucky to be able to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics as well as some of the games in Barcelona. It was truly a trip of a lifetime thanks to the host company which sponsored and paid for our trip. These Olympic pins are a tiny souvenir of those days spent in parts of Spain. Appreciate your comment.

Ruchira from United States on July 19, 2012:

wow, Peggy.

You sure have travelled the world and oceans across. To be there for any olympics is a memory, which will always be treasured.

wishing you many more journeys in the future!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 18, 2012:

Hi dwachira,

Nice to know that you also enjoy the Olympics and found this article about Olympic pin collecting of value. The sponsor pins as well as all of the other kinds were fun to collect as well as trade. You must know that lots of that is about to take place in London this year! Thanks for your comment and votes.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on July 18, 2012:

I won't mind some of those sponsor pins Peggy W, It is good to see someone is passionate about sports especially the Olympics as i do. Great article, voted up, interesting and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2012:

Hi thelyricwriter,

Perhaps some of those very early cardboard badges are worth a lot of money now just because of their age and part they took in history. Most of the Olympic pins range from under $10 to about $60. There may be some that are higher depending upon their rarity. Of course like any is all up to what people are willing to pay that brings the ultimate value. Thanks for your comment and all of your votes.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on July 17, 2012:

Peggy, very interesting article. I collect coins, cards, and anything to do with sports myself. I have seen these before and people were selling them for big bucks. I like collecting because it is like owning a piece of history, a piece of that time. I would imagine that there are a few worth thousands if not more. It was fun learning about them. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2012:

Hi Alastar,

Until the London Olympics are over, we will be hearing more and more about them leading up to the actual events...and then, the events themselves. From opening ceremonies to closing ceremonies, we will be happily entertained. Yes...go USA! Not at all prejudiced. Haha! I am happy for each and every winner. They surely put a lot of dedicated time and effort into their sports. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2012:

Hi johnr54,

Sounds like you have a great Olympic pin collection. Putting them into a shadow box would be a great way to display them! I agree with you..."Let the games begin!" The people living in London must be so excited as is much of the world...whether there in person or not. We will be glued to our television set. Thanks for your comment.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on July 17, 2012:

What a fantastic and fun collecting hobby. And what an interesting read on them with the '92 games you and your husband attended Peggy. They're each unique with only the circles in common and the different companies and all represented. I did enjoy this pin trading tour Peggy. The commercial with the Illuminati all- seeing- eye toy droid mascots is something too. Go USA!

Joanie Ruppel from Texas on July 17, 2012:

In 1992, my husband worked for Motorola and we were lucky to have bestowed upon us an entire collection of pins in a shadow box by one of the corporate vice presidents. It hangs on my wall today and is part of hundreds of pins that I have collected starting with the 1976 Montreal Olympics. A friend just returned from London this past weekend and brought me a few pins from London! Let the Games begin!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2012:

Hi Lesley,

It is so exciting to be the host country for the Olympics! Olympic fever is filling our television screens and media sources over here also with focuses on the hopeful athletes, etc. Soon we will be seeing much of London and the Olympic venues via live television feeds. Not many more days to go before they open. I love watching the games...always did...but especially after attending the ones in Barcelona! Enjoy! I know you are excited!!! Thanks for your comment and vote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2012: