Vancouver Olympic puck nets $13,000 at auction
Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, April 5, 2010 12:11PM PDT
But collectors have.
A jersey worn by hockey player Sidney Crosby during a Team Canada game against Switzerland at the 2010 Winter Games has now sold for $35,100.
A puck from the overtime period of the gold medal hockey game is now in an Ohio resident's hands at the cost of $13,113.13
A tray that held the medals presented to the gold-medal winning women's hockey team sold for $5,000.
"To see the amount of bids on there per item and then the closing bid prices, it's certainly surprising to see in a very positive way," said Dennis Kim, director of merchandising for the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, known as VANOC.
In addition to pucks and podiums, VANOC is using the online auction site eBay to sell artwork, replica tickets, mascots and even copies of their pitch book, including one signed by CEO John Furlong.
It went for $677.
"People really don't want to let go of the memories of the Games," said Kim.
For Olympic collectors, having such bounty so easily available online ends the era where they'd travel the world in search of artifacts from the biggest sporting festival in the world.
"The people who will buy the competitors' bibs and the medal trays and those types of museum-type objects are serious collectors," said Craig Perlow, who has been collecting all manner of Games materials since the 1976 Games in Montreal.
"They are not your casual collector who wants to buy a five-dollar pin on eBay. If those kinds of serious collectors can have more access to serious kinds of items, I'm all for it."
But with rapid access comes much higher prices.
Those looking to snap up pieces of 2010 Olympic history shouldn't necessarily view it as an investment, said Marc Juteau, president of Classic Auctions, a Quebec company that specializes in hockey.
"There's really big hype created right around the time of the event and as the hype goes down, the interest from other collectors goes down," he said.
"People are not ready to pay the same kind of money again a few years later."
In March, his company sold a signed puck from the legendary 1980 Olympic hockey match between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, known as the Miracle On Ice.
The puck was the one used to score the goal tying the game at the end of the first period. The U.S. went on to win the match 4-3.
The puck, which came framed with documentation, photographs and other tokens from the game, sold for $13,915.
Juteau said the price for Crosby's jersey was a good price but noted that game-worn jerseys from Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr have sold for close to $100,000, he said.
The scope of VANOC's auction builds on the success that 2008 Olympic organizers had selling of thousands of items from the Beijing Games, but the concept of Olympic auctions isn't new.
Organizers of the 1996 Games in Atlanta held a series of public auctions of everything from telephone systems to volunteer manuals.
"Ultimately, the Olympic Games are a business enterprise and obviously most businesses like to finish in the black," said Perlow, who lives in Georgia.
"This is going to help VANOC finish in the black or blacker than they would have finished before."
Olymphiles usually focus their collections, whether it's items from a specific Games or a theme, like tickets or posters.
Rarity helps push prices up, so the advent of mass online sales can be a hindrance, said longtime collector Bob Christianson.
There's also the difference between what an Olympic collector is willing to pay and what a sports fan will pay, he said in an interview from his Florida home.
"They've come into the Olympic end of the hobby from baseball or other older established collectible areas of sport and in their mind they make the jump that this stuff should be that valuable," he said.
"The die-hard collectors are usually more patient and don't jump at the first opportunity to buy something."
Whenever someone asks him for advice on how to become a collector, Perlow has a simple suggestion.
"Enjoy yourself, collect the memories because ultimately that's what these objects are going to represent to you," said Perlow.
"But don't spend a lot of money."