Olympic Memorabilia Auctions; 2012 Football Qualifiers

(ATR) Rare Olympic items fetch top-dollar at auction... Several teams qualify for London Olympics... Alleged violation of Olympic Charter. More inside.

Heated Bidding, High Prices for Olympic Memorabilia

Olympic memorabilia auctioneer Ingrid O'Neil tells Around the Rings a collection of Session badges consigned by an unnamed IOC member attracted the most interest in her most recent mail bid auction, which closed Saturday.

The most heated bidding was for a seldom-seen 1981 Baden-Baden session badge with a white ribbon, which fetched $3,226. The estimate was $400. Olympic Congress badges from the same gathering are extremely common, often selling for under $200.

The IOC member's badge from the 1983 session in New Delhi went for $1,345 and the special member's badge from 1994 Lillehammer fetched $1,581.

A pin from the 1927 session in Monaco sold for $2,340, more than three times its estimate of $750.

Per usual, a winner’s medal fetched the highest price – in this case, $50,511 for a 1928 St. Moritz silver. The medal, which has proven to be rarer in silver than in gold, had an estimate of $17,500. The final price also includes a 15 percent buyer's premium.

In other results, a 1956 Melbourne torch sold for its estimate of $19,000 for a total of $21,850; a rare Montreal security lamp went for $12,822; a 1928 Amsterdam International Fencing Federation president's badge fetched $6,325 and a 1906 American Olympic Committee member’s badge went for $3,450.

An ice dancing silver medal from the Torino Olympics sold for $15,007. Although recent winners' medals, particularly from the Winter Games are usually scarce, Torino medals have been fairly easy to acquire. Duplicate medals that were produced in case of ties and are identical to the ones awarded at the 2006 Games found their way onto the market.

About 320 of the 823 lots were sold during the auction.

Elsewhere in the world of Olympic memorabilia, the silver medal and diploma won by the Soviet goalie who gave up the go-ahead goal to the United States in the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game sold for $14,989 (including a buyer's premium of 19.5 percent) in a sale by Classic Auctions, based in Quebec.

The lot also included Vladimir Myshkin's accreditations for the Lake Placid Olympics. By comparison, a Lake Placid gold medal won by a member of the U.S. hockey team recently went for $310,000.

Lots consigned by Canadian swimmer Elaine "Mighty Mouse" Tanner sold for more than $17,000, plus buyer's premium. Including the commission, her collection of two silvers and one bronze medal from the 1968 Olympics fetched $14,094, while her four golds and three silvers from the 1966 Commonwealth Games went for $5,775. Other lots consisted of apparel and various mementoes.

The Classic Auctions sale was comprised primarily of hockey memorabilia.

Spain, Switzerland Secure London Football Berths

Spain and Switzerland have qualified for the London 2012 men’s Olympic football tournament.

The Spanish beat Belarus 3-1 in the semi-finals of the UEFA U-21 European Championships in Denmark on Wednesday. Switzerland booked their berth in the final and aspot at the Olympics with a win over the Czech Republic.

The winners of Saturday's third place play-off between Belarus and Czech Republic will clinch Europe’s last spot at the Olympics.

National teams from FIFA's other five confederations are currently battling for places at the Olympics, with the qualification stages reaching a climax later this year.

At London 2012, 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will fight for medals.

Games will be spread across six major stadia around the UK, including Wembley and Manchester United's Old Trafford.

Toronto 2015 Hires Sports PR Firm

Canada’s only sports public relations agency will lend its services to Toronto 2015.

Based in the host city, Stellick Marketing Communications announced Thursday it’s been named the sports PR agency of record for the Pan American Games organizing committee.

"Stellick Marketing Communications brings a huge bandwidth of knowledgeand expertise from their years of work in the sport world," TO2015 communications director Elissa Freeman said in a statement.

"Their understanding of the nuances of amateur athletics and its power and influence on the world stage will be extremely beneficial to TO2015."

Stellick will promote the impact and the relevancy of the Games and hold media training sessions for athletes.

Fiji Warns of Olympic Charter Violation

Fiji’s Olympic committee, FASANOC, told its counterparts in New Zealand they may run afoul of the Olympic Charter.

The Associated Press reported that FASANOC chief Vidya Lakhan wrote to the International Rugby Board to "put its foot down'' and force New Zealand to lift a travel ban for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

Following a 2006 coup, New Zealand banned travel for Fijians with ties to the military. That now means that several Fijian rugby players would be barred from entering.

Lakhan reasons that not that rugby is an Olympic sport, the Olympic Charter, which bans political interference, extends to rugby.

New Sports Marketing Office

Encompass International is now operational in Brazil.

The firm, comprised of several Olympic and sports marketing experts.

With the Sao Paulo office, Encompass has nine offices worldwide.

"Our team is excellent" said Davis Butler, Encompass International’s president. We each bring special areas of international expertise, such as strategic analysis and guidance, revenue generation, deal structuring and negotiation, sales, activation support, servicing and legal assistance. Our new staff in Brazil makes us even better and gives us a strategic advantage in a key market"

"This move shows the growing worldwide importance of sport in Brazil and the rest of South America" the company said in a statement.

Written by Matthew Grayson.

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