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  • Olympic Collectors Gather in Long Beach


    Torches, medals, posters, stamps, mascots, pins and Olympians were center stage for the 24th World Olympic Collectors’ Fair in Long Beach Convention Center Sept. 5-7. 

    Olympians Dick Fosbury, John Naber, Dawn Harper Nelson, John Moffet, and Michael Lenard signed autographs and posed for photos. 

    Attendance for the three-day show was 4,783 unique participants, according to the head of the Long Beach Expo Center, which hosted the entire event.

    Jonathan Becker, co-chair of the show says dealers and other table holders from around the world were pleased with their sales and trades.

    "Some even mentioned that it was their best show in recent memory. Also, over one hundred participated in the tour of the L.A. Coliseum and reception at the L.A. 84 Foundation, and over one hundred twenty attended the dinner on the
    Queen Mary, as well," says Becker.

    Becker contacted ATR to offer his perspective on the show after expressing disappointment with our original report on the event filed by Everen Brown.

    Becker and other collectors contacted ATR to say they disagreed with the observations about small crowds at the show. Brown says when he visited he saw few visitors and found it hard to find the Olympic collectors, who shared the exhibition space with a numismatics show.

    "As for the signage that Mr. Brown claims were “non-existent”, there was a large sign in the lobby of the Expo Center, just outside the entrance, a huge banner with the words “Olympic Worlds Fair” suspended over our section of the floor, and several large (three to four-foot diameter) floor markers pointing the way to our area. Also, there was an extensive article about the World Olympic Collectors Fair in the guide magazine that was distributed free to all visitors," writes Becker.

    "I think what frustrates me most, however, is the total lack of vetting by Around the Rings. I am extremely disappointed in their lack of editorial integrity with this article," says Becker.

    More than 70 booths were set aside for dealers of Olympic memorabilia within the Long Beach Expo.

    Some booths were empty as several dealers had visa issues and did not get into the country. Nonetheless more than 100 collectors from 10 countries attended the show.

    Sam the Eagle lost his head in all the excitement of posing with visitors (Pam Litz)
    The Crawford Family U.S. Olympic Archives were represented by Teri Hedgpeth, who was on hand to answer questions about this unique collection.  The collection has just been donated to the U.S. Olympic Museum. Justin Hou of China gave out books covering his adventures of “Global Olympic Traveling”.

    A rep from the Olympic Fever podcast was spotted browsing the offerings from the worldwide dealers. 

    Longtime Olympic dealer Ingrid O’Neil had several booths filled with merchandise, including mascot dolls from a variety of Olympiads and participation medals. 

    Most booths were manned by pin traders who offered thousands of Olympic pins for sale and trade. Well known pin collectors from Dan Presburger to “pin lady” Janet Grissom were at the show.

    One highlight was a demonstration of the website - It allows collectors a chance to track their personal pin collections, meet other collectors and locate pins on their “wish list”. They have a special area for Olympic pins on their site.

    An impressive collection of Olympic torches were on display in the center of the booth area, along with Olympic memorabilia and philatelic displays. 

    The next Olympic Collectors Fair will held May 24-26, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. 

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