Pin trade hot idea for the Olympics

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    By Nathan Shaw

    The Winter Olympics is a chance for the world to come together and share. For some that sharing includes the trading of Olympic pins.

    “Pin trading is one of the ways to really experience the games,” said Craig Weston Olympic Director for Aminco, the exclusive licensee for 2002 Olympic pins.

    When the world is coming to Salt Lake next year it may be difficult to understand other languages.

    Weston said that trading is a “way to communicate that goes over any barriers, including speech.”

    Trading stretches across the age barrier as well. Salt Lake Organizing Committee has a program to help Utah school students get involved in pin trading. Students design their own pins and the selected winners will have their pins made by Aminco.

    Three students from the Provo School District were selected in February and last week at a board meeting received a copy of their pins and a plaque presented to the District.

    According to Weston pin trading started as far back as 1896. They had round disks with ribbons on them to give to officials, athletes and other authorities. Others became interested in them as collectibles and it started to grow from there.

    The 1980 Moscow games really started to take trading off the ground as sponsors started to get involved.

    For the upcoming Olympic games, the Visitors Center in the County Historic Courthouse in Provo is one of the official vendors of Aminco pins.

    Most pins start out at a price of $6. There is a finite number of most of the pins and so the rarity of the pin can help increase the value.

    “Pins are a way of expressing the culture of the host of the Olympics,” stated Weston.

    “The most popular pin is the Gelatin pin,” said Weston. There were only 5,000 made and there are no longer producing them.

    A few other popular pins are the Fry Sauce pin and the Funeral Potato Pin. Weston said that they have run approximately 400 different kinds of pins to this point and will probably run close to 800 before the 2002 Olympics are over.

    Weston also mentioned that there will be between 40,000-50,000 people trading pins in downtown Salt Lake during the games.

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