Pin Points - London Collectibles, The 1st Edition

(ATR) The pins frenzy for the London Olympics is building – and with it the first edition of Pin Points, the Around the Rings feature about 2012 collectibles. London pin authority Paul McGill has more on the pins produced so far for distribution and sale in the U.K.

Early Pin Releases for London 2012

Before London even won the bid back in 2005, the organizing committee issued a handful of pins to commemorate the bid and their place as a Candidate City. Unlike some other bid cities that issued a large range of pins, London only created 10 pins and all of them were a simple combination of the bid logo and the 'Candidate City' wording. None of these were particularly exciting and most of the styles can be picked up easily on auction sites or by trading.

The next range of pins that emerged were plain logo pins that were issued on the day of the logo launch. There were four pins available all of which showed the London 2012 logo each in a different brand color – pink, orange, blue and green. These pins were only available at the event in 2007 and are fairly hard to find and rarely come up for sale or trade.

2,012 in All

The commemorative/retail pin program for London 2012 is an ambitious one that will bring the release of 2,012 pins. Almost all of these will be available in retail outlets with some pins restricted to certain retailers or promotions, such as the ticket ballot. As at November 2011, a little over 700 have been issued; some have already sold out or have been withdrawn from sale. There are a few designs which are becoming a little harder to find.

The first retail pins to be issued were standard logo pins in the four London 2012 brand colors and the Paralympic Games branding. These pins were issued to coincide with the closing of the Beijing Games in 2008 and were originally available at the Handover Party in London but are now available from almost all London 2012 retailers. As well as the brand colored pins, the logo pin is also available in white and in the Union Flag colors. The latter is extremely popular and the original issue is now becoming harder to find and will possibly sell out soon.

Countdown Pins

Countdown pins are popular at each Games, and London has issued pins to mark thefour, three, two and one 'Years to Go' as well as 1000, 500, 400 and 300 days. The issue sizes for these range from 2,012 to 5,000 pins. Hopefully we will see more countdown pins as we approach the Opening Ceremony. Some of the countdown pins have already sold out and recently all remaining stocks were withdrawn from sale.They will not be available to buy individually again.

Landmarks on Your Lapel

Unsurprisingly, many of the pins that have been issued celebrate London, the host city. Famous London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament and Nelson's Column have been reproduced. There are pins of London black taxis and red buses too.

Several sets of London pins are available either as framed collectors pieces such as the 'London at Night' set, limited to 5,000 pieces,or as individual pins.

In 2010 a ballot was held on the London 2012 website, where residents of the 33 London boroughs, which make up the Greater London area, could vote for a 'landmark' in their borough that would become the subject of a pin. The resulting 33 pins display a wide range of landmarks, from statues to buildings with subjects as diverse as the famous Wimbledon Centre Court to a statue of leaning telephone booths. Each pin in the series is limited to 3,000 pieces and some of these have already sold out.

All Facets of British Life Represented

London 2012 has taken the opportunity to use its pin program to highlight the characteristics of Britain. The British Life series covers diverse subjects such as the weather, teapots, afternoon tea, the seaside and Wellington boots. The British Nature range of pins highlights the countryside, flowers from each season, birds and dogs. British Arts recognises music festivals, West End theater and pantomime. Royalty has also been represented with a framed set of pins showing some of the crowns used by English and British monarchs.


Pictograms are an important visual communication tool during the Games, and they appear on two sets of pins. The original set displayed both Olympic and Paralympic pictograms on gold pins with the name of the sport below the image. These pins are available individually and many people are collecting pins of their favorite sports or those sports for which they have tickets. There are 5,000 pins of each Olympic sport and 3,000 of each Paralympic sport.

The second set of pictogram pins are only available as framed sets, one Olympic (5,000 sets) and one Paralympic (2,012 sets), and show the pictograms on pewter effect pins.

Mascot Pins

The London 2012 mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, have appeared on many pins since they were launched in May 2010.

The first time they appeared on a pin was on the mascot launch day. Each mascot was shown on a rainbow in a 2,012 limited edition set. These sets sold out in a few weeks and are now only available on the secondary market or by trading.

Since that time, the mascots have been seen on countdown pins, posing with London icons, going back to school and celebrating their first birthday. However, the biggest set of mascot pins so far is Wenlock and Mandeville trying out Olympic and Paralympic sports. There are some fantastic designs in this set and just like the pictogram pins, they are being collected by people with favorite sports or event tickets. There are 10,000 of each pin issued.

Previous Games

For fans of previous Games, there are a set of pins displaying posters and logos from previous Olympics. The posters stretch back to Athens in 1896 andthe logos to Berlin in 1936. These pins use artwork from the International Olympic Museum.

Diversity Pins

London 2012 has a defined diversity policy to ensure that there is no discrimination based on age, sexuality, race, religion or disability.

To highlight this, LOCOG is issuing Diversity pins. So far we have seen pins that recognize the LGBT community, the deaf and blind community, people of all ages and people of all faiths.

Special Days Noted

Celebrations and special days have been marked by several pins. There are a number of Christmas pins available as well as Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day. Expect to see a Mother’s Day pin in 2012.

Strictly Come British

The final set of pins to mention are those which promote the British Olympic teams – Team GB and Paralympics GB.

There are a range of pins that show the team logos or map of the United Kingdom in red, white and blue or plain metal. Even though these were released relatively recently, some are already sold out or in limited supply.

Sponsors and Partner Pins Sought

Sponsor or Partner pins always prove popular with collectors, and some of the London 2012 sponsors have a comprehensive pin program, while others are yet to embrace pin collecting.

Many of the London Tier 1 partners started issuing pins in early 2009 with the worldwide partners moving their attention to London after the Vancouver Games in 2010. More on sponsor pins in an upcoming article.

Other Popular Pins

Media pins have only appeared recently with NBC issuing the most so far. Based on previous Games, expect this sector to grow significantly in 2012.

National Olympic Committee pins, which focus solely on London 2012, are very rare at present. Expect to see more as teams finalize their plans.

The final type of pin that has caused a stir among British collectors are internal pins issued by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

The ODA are responsible for building the Olympic Park and the venues and their pins have focused on the workforce and the completed venues. These pins are very popular at the moment and some of the pins are very hard to find.

The LOCOG pins focus more on the workshops and conferences that have taken place as well as rewarding LOCOG volunteers.

Paul McGill runs the collectors’ website This non-commercial website aims to be the definitive source for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic pin information. The site contains a comprehensive catalogue of all the London Olympic pins as well as news articles and background on pins and pin collecting.

Visit the ATR Pin Points - London Collectibles webpage, dedicated to London 2012 pins.

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