Pin cases with Olympic pins (3), metal/glass/enamel/plastic/velour, cases made by Lawdex, compiled from circa 1990 to
Housed in three wooden display cases, this collection of souvenir pins documents many of the bids, sponsors, sports and mascots associated with recent Olympic Games. It also represents four common styles of Olympic souvenir pins - pewter; enamel, resin and metal cast from lost wax (metal cast in a cavity shaped by a wax pattern). Most probably, the collection was assembled by an employee of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG), and was hung on the wall of a SOCOG office.
The production of Olympic pins commenced in Athens in 1896 when cardboard pins identified athletes, reporters and Olympic officials. Sixteen years later, the Stockholm Olympics featured the first series of souvenir pins, and initiated the trade of official pins at the 1924 Paris Games.
Public and commercial interest in Olympic pins continued to develop so that by the 1930s, newspapers and mail catalogues traded in official pins and sponsors released exclusive series. In the three years from 1933 to 1936, more than one million Olympic pins sold worldwide.
The recent phenomenon of pin trading did not commence until 1980 however, with the Lake Placid Winter Games. Four years later, at the Los Angeles Olympics, the pin trading tent attracted around 10,000 people a day, and demonstrated the need for an official body to monitor the production, quality and distribution of Olympic pins. In 1988, the Olympic Pin Trading Centre opened at the Calgary Winter Games.