Collectibles of the XXII Sochi Winter Olympics

This set of commemorative coins from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were minted in partnership with the Central Bank of Russia.

The upcoming Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to begin on February 7, provides collectors with a host of collectible opportunities, some of which are available now.

The host city of Sochi, Russia, situated on the coast of the Black Sea, also offers a wealth of collectibles accessible by attendees, athletes and their families.

You can get a jumpstart on your Winter Olympics collection by purchasing a box of the recently released trading-card product from Topps. Titled, “2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic & Hopefuls,” the name is quite a mouthful, but it’s really just a product focusing on the Winter Olympics, past, present and future.

Mike Eruzione of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey team is one of many past Olympians who’ve included autographs in Topps Sochi Olympics line.

The 100-card base set can be assembled from a single box, whose current suggested retail price is around $60. Each box will yield one autograph and two athlete worn relic cards or commemorative patch cards. The random appearance of these cards in a deck provides the opportunity for some great surprises including the possibility of an autograph card of some former Winter Olympic champions.

The checklist of signers includes:

• Bonnie Blair – Five gold and one bronze medals, women’s speed skating (1988-1994);
• Dick Button – Two gold medals, men’s figure skating (1948-1952);
• Mike Eruzione – Gold medal, men’s hockey (1980);
• Jim Craig – Gold medal, men’s hockey (1980);
• Dan Jansen – Gold medal, men’s speed skating (1994);
• Kristi Yamaguchi – Gold medal, women’s figure skating (1992);
• Scott Hamilton – Gold medal, men’s figure skating (1984);
• Brian Boitano – Gold medal, men’s figure skating (1988);
• Picabo Street – Gold and silver medals, women’s alpine skiing (1994-1998);
• Peggy Fleming – Gold medal, women’s figure skating (1968);
• Nancy Kerrigan – Silver and bronze medals, women’s figure skating (1998-1994).

U.S. team pins aren’t the only ones available. This pin celebrates the Greece’s Olympic team.

Media pins are always a good find. This comes from the NBC media team covering the event.

In addition to trading cards, among the most popular Olympic collectibles are pins. Dozens commemorate the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. From general pins designating the year and host city, to event venues, specific sports, media and sponsors, there’s no shortage of options. Assembling a comprehensive pin collection could be a challenging undertaking, as numerous countries produce their own pins for such occasions. Many pins are available directly from the official online store of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

While hundreds of pins are available for this year’s Winter Olympics, curating them properly take them from being a commodity to a collector’s item.

Because tens of thousands of these pins are produced, at first glance they may seem more a commodity than a collectible. The truth of the matter is that they are—right now. The collectible values of pins often appreciates as thousands get lost, broken or suffer from condition issues as a result of poor storage and preservation practices.

Curation of pins has a significant impact on future value. Specially designed pin boards—a frame with padded, velvet-like material—can be found with or without UV-protective glass. When accompanied by an engraved brass nameplate, you convert these pins from being a mere commodity to a true collectible keepsake.

Coins also possess a huge opportunity for Olympics collectors. The Olympics, in conjunction with the Central Bank of Russia, is already minting commemorative Sochi Olympics coins. These collectibles are highly valued not only for their commemorative nature but also their actual current and future monetary value.

This collectible-crossover element means these coins will appeal not only to Winter Olympic collectors but also to traditional numismatists. Here is detailed information on the official commemorative coins being released:

This official U.S. Olympic Team patch for the Sochi Winter Games is one of many available now.

• Four silver coins in a series titled “Modern Sports Featured in the Olympic Winter Games,” each with a face value of 3 rubles (biathlon, alpine skiing, figure skating and ice hockey);
• One gold coin with a face value of 1,000 rubles, depicting Sochi’s flora;
• A silver coin with a face value of 100 rubles and depicting the “Russian winter;”
• Two gold coins depicting bobsledding and curling in a “Sports Dating From the First Olympic Winter Games” series, with a face value of 50 rubles each;
• A coin made from colored metal with a face value of 25 rubles depicting the emblems of the Sochi Games on a background of mountains. This coin will be put into circulation as a cash denomination, with around 10 million being issued.

Traditional event and race-used equipment and apparel, along with awarded medals, will carry the highest price tags. Typically it takes several years for these to become available on the auction circuit. However, that shouldn’t stop collectors for keeping an eye out for them to come to auction. Sometimes the monetary value of these items is too tempting for participants and winners to pass up, and on occasion such coveted items can be found.

While there will be plenty of Olympic-branded commodities to purchase, remember that, when all the hype is said and done, the items that hold and appreciate in value are those people collect long after the flame of games is extinguished: athlete-used equipment, coins, pins, trading cards and autographs.

Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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