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  • Prized Pins Star London Olympic Mascots


    04/05/12

    (ATR) London pin specialist Paul McGill points the spotlight onto some of the 2012 Games mascot pins starring Wenlock and Mandeville. On your marks – get set – collect!

    Mascot Launch

    London 2012 has two mascots. Wenlock is the Olympic mascot and is named after the village of Much Wenlock where Pierre de Coubertin had the inspiration for the modern Olympic Games. Mandeville is the Paralympic mascot and is named after Stoke Mandeville, the hospital where the first Paralympic Games were held. The story goes that both mascots were made from the final drops of steel made for the construction of the Olympic Stadium.

    The mascots were launched in May 2010 and alongside the publicity and promotional video came a boxed set of two pins – one of each mascot ‘riding’ on a rainbow. These sets were limited to 2,012 pieces and, helped by the publicity, sold out within a couple of weeks. The sets appear on auction sites every so often.

    Moveable and Loveable Mascots

    The next mascot pins to be released during the autumn of 2010 were animated pins that used sliders, springs and dangling elements to create more interest. None of these pins are particularly rare having issue sizes of 10,000 or 20,000.

    In February 2011, a further boxed pair of mascot pins was released to celebrate Valentine’s Day. These pins saw both Wenlock and Mandeville standing in front of a Union Flag heart in the ‘welcome’ pose and ‘waving’ pose respectively. Although these sets were limited to 2,012 pieces, they are still available from select retailers.

    Iconic Outfits

    The spring and summer of 2011 saw the release of a range of pins that used both the Union flag and some of the iconic uniforms associated with London and the United Kingdom. Wenlock appeared in a policeman’s uniform complete with police hat and also as a Queen’s guard with bearskin. Mandeville was decked out in a policewoman’s costume and also as a Beefeater guard. Both mascots were available as pins completely coloured in the Union flag. Like most of the pins that use the flag design, sales have been brisk. The new designs of these pins were complemented by a range of redesigned backing cards and the mascot guards were featured in the second mascot video.

    Each of these designs are available as enamel and printed pins and the enamel varieties available as individual pins or in a larger size as a boxed set. I presume that the boxed sets are designed to appeal primarily to visitors as they combine a great souvenir of both London and the Olympics. Issue sizes range from 10,000 to 500,000 depending on the design and production method.

    Mascot Sports

    By far the biggest range of mascot pins so far, and possibly the most popular with collectors and Olympic fans, have been the mascot sports pins. These show Wenlock and Mandeville trying out all of the Olympic and Paralympic sports respectively. Think of them as the pictograms brought to life by the mascots! In my experience, fans of particular sports are choosing the pictogram and corresponding mascot sport pins as a pair in order to celebrate their sport. Others are choosing to buy the mascot pins to wear as they have tickets for a particular sport. Each pin is limited to 10,000 pieces and whilst there are no sell-outs at the moment, I can foresee that some of the popular sports may be hard to find by the time the Games close.

    Get-Set

    The ‘Get-Set’ program is designed to engage school children from across the UK with the Olympics. As a part for this program, London 2012 ran a competition last year for children to design a mascot that represented their region. The winning designs were made into pin badges – 12 in all, one for each of the regions of the UK. The pins are printed to allow the fine detail to be reproduced and are each limited to 50,000 pieces.

    London Scenes

    A familiar theme running through the retail pins is the icons of London, be they streets, buildings or letter boxes. It’s no surprise then to see a range of pins with Wenlock and Mandeville pictured in some of these familiar London scenes. The design of these pins uses the ‘Landlines’ styling seen on several London 2012 pins. They are available in blue (printed) and white (enamel) and are limited to 50,000 pieces each.

    Christmas

    At the end of 2011, London 2012 issued a pair of pins that showed both mascots enjoying the festive season. Wenlock is shown slam-dunking a present into a basketball hoop while Mandeville, dressed in a Santa hat, is carrying a large snowball. Both pins were issued in enamel and printed versions with issue sizes of 2,012 and 100,000 respectively.

    Back to School

    In September 2011, to mark the return to school for children everywhere, a set of six pins were launched showing Wenlock and Mandeville going to school. Given their appeal of the mascots to children, these pins should be popular. They show the mascots with a blackboard, school books, a backpack and as a school crossing patrol. They are all enamel pins and limited to 2,012 pieces each.

    Countdown Mascots

    The final large set of mascot pins has been those that countdown to both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since the 500 days to go mark, Wenlock has made an appearance at each 100 days to celebrate the fact we are getting closer to the Opening Ceremony. Each time he is seen in a familiar pose such as running, as a flag-bearer or peeping out from behind the pin. Mandeville joined him on the countdown pins from 400 days and each time takes up the same pose as Wenlock. On the latest pins – the 100 days to go due out this month, the mascots are breaking the finishing tape in their ‘winning’ pose.

    Gold and Silver

    The most recent mascot pins return Wenlock and Mandeville to their familiar ‘core’ poses, but rather than using the silver base and colored features as in the previous pins, these are completely silver or gold. They are a stylish alternative to the familiar mascot pins and will probably appeal to a different market from the original issues. All four pins in this range are limited to 100,000 pieces.

    As always, this article provides only a high level overview of the pins available. If you would like to see more, then take a look at the mascot pins page on the London Pins website.

    Paul McGill of London Pins
    Paul McGill runs the collectors’ website www.londonpins.co.uk. 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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