The Hottest Thing at the Olympics?

The hottest thing in London is the Olympic Flame. And what about the 8,000 torches that each sport 8,000 holes that 8,000 people carried 8,000 miles? What happens to those now that the cauldron has been lit? Olympic torches have always been highly collectible, but the 2012 torches are extremely coveted.
In fact, a 2012 London torch reportedly sold for $240,000 in May. The values of these torches, Perlow says, will inevitably go down. “People get very taken up in the moment when the time of the Games arrives. Right now, they’ll spend what I call crazy money for Olympic souvenirs just because they need to have that instant gratification, that ‘I’m here, experiencing it now’ memento.”

Those collectors may want to check their math. After all, one of the torches made for the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games sold for nearly $400,000 last year at auction in Paris, currently the second most expensive Olympic item ever sold, but there were only 22 made versus 8,000 in London. The more common torches, like the 17,000 torches made for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games torch, go for a couple thousand dollars online.

“Most torches are in that price range,” Perlow says. “When you’re talking a 1956 Melbourne, that’s a $15,000-20,000 torch, because there were only 400 of them. The 1960 Squaw Valley is probably around $100,000. A 1988 Calgary is probably $20,000, because I think only 150-some-odd Calgary torches were made.”

You can see some of those older, rarer torch designs from previous Olympics and read the history of how they are traded around as collectibles at Collectors Weekly. Link

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