Collector’s interview by the class of CM1/CM2 of the school from Bazas, 33 France (April 2004)
We have interviewed Catherine (48 years), originating from Brittany and who live in the South of France.
Which types of memorabilia do you collect?
I collect the pins issued for the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992 but also the participant medals (offered to all athletes and official which takes part in the Olympic Games), daily programs, entry ticket, mascots and all Olympic memorabilia that I like, except stamps, phonecards and coins.
How much do you have some?
For the pins, at this time 2348, for the others approximately 16 participant medals, 40 programs (opening ceremony, daily and closing ceremony), 37 tickets (opening ceremony, daily and closing ceremony), 22 different mascots (without counting the various versions)…
At which age did you start to collect these items?
I started to collect these items in 1990-1991, when I was 34-35 years old.
How this passion did come to you and why precisely the Olympic Games?
I was a sportswoman, then in the years 1990, there was an enormous phenomenon with the invasion of the pins. I thus started to collect these small objects, initially in a little disparate way, then more targeted by focusing me on the Olympic Games of Albertville which took place in France, in 1992. I was likely to be able to go to Albertville during the Games, and to bathe in this very particular atmosphere, very animated, but very good ambiance which is the rule during this event. Thereafter, I wanted to find this atmosphere, and I was in Lillehammer (Norway) in 1994, in Atlanta (the USA) in 1996, in Nagano (Japan) in 1998, in Sydney in 2000 and Salt Lake City in 2002. I also met many other collectors from all countries which encouraged me to widen my sphere of activity of collection, thus way making, I managed from there to collect other Olympic items that the pins.
Did you attend all the Olympic Games?
Since the Albertville Games in 1992, I attended all the other Games, winter or summer, except Barcelona, and I will be in Athens this summer. It is by the collection that I was brought to want to attend the Games, initially because during the Games, there are always pins trading fairs what is always very convivial and allows me to meet people from all countries and all horizons.
Do you have a preferred item and so yes why?
My preferred item is a IOC session badge (International Olympic Committee) which was held in Courchevel just before the Opening of the Albertville Games. This badge was offered to me by a great man of the sport, Jean-Claude KILLY.
Do you remember the first item from your collection?
The first pin that I had between the hands was that of my parachutism club, when I still practised this sport. I took part besides in his design at the time.
How do you get these items?
There are various ways for me to get these items, either by trading with other collectors, or by visiting the many yard-sales, or on the sites of auction sale on Internet.
Is this a passion which requires much time and much money?
Yes, that requires much time if you want to do it seriously because there is a large work of filing and classification, and I devote to it the major part of my spare time, the more so as I created a Web site which I must update regularly. The money is also an essential element because it’s not always possible to obtain all items by trading, however, sometimes it is necessary refuse a transaction if the price is excessive. To adapt its collection to its budget is important. It is necessary to know to make the choices which are essential.
Which item do you dream to acquire?
In an Olympic collection, the more symbolic items are the torch which run the flame to the basin in which it burns during all the duration of the Games and the winner medal which is the item more coveted by the athletes and that which concretizes a sum of enormous efforts during years. To acquire a torch of Albertville and a medal of winner of these Games forms part of my dreams, one day perhaps!
Do you have items coming from the first Olympic Games of Athens 1896?
At this moment, I do not have yet any item from Athens 1896, but I do not despair! The oldest items that I have are coming from the Paris 1900 Games. It’s an entry ticket to the World Fair during which were held the Games and a participant medal.
Will you attend the 10th international fair of the Olympic collectors in Lausanne?
I will be present at the next fair of Lausanne as exhibitor. At this date, I did not miss any from the first, in 1994, after the Games of Lillehammer.