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Questionable Bid Pins

       This group of pins can be properly referred to as "questionable" or "suspect". These pins are made to resemble original pins and have noticeable differences in appearance from their original counterparts seen during the bid period.

Here are a few examples:

1992
Barcelona

       Barcelona - There is no logical reason why an official Barcelona 1992 bid pin would show the city's name in French rather than in Spanish or English. Therefore, in all likelihood this pin orginated in France.

2002
Québec

Québec

       Québec - Here are four of several versions of an oversized logo badge prooduced by C. Lamond, of Montreal, who also made many of the official pins and badges for the 1976 Olympic Games. But, given their large dimensions - 60mm x 90mm - these badges may have been made without the knowledge or consent of the Bid Committee.

2004
Athens

Original Pins

Athens

Suspect Pins

       Athens - In the case of the multi-colored pin on the left, the blue portion of the original can be found in either sky blue or royal blue, and has a thin, flat base on the back where the post is attached. The suspect pin is dark blue, and has a thick, round base on the back where the post is attached.

       As for the cut-out pin pictured on the right, the original gold and silver-colored design came in two versions - one of which was gold-plated with sterling silver. The "suspect" pin is made from silver-colored metal only.

Buenos Aires

       Buenos Aires - Besides depicting a completely different bid logo than the other Buenos Aires 2004 bid pins, this crudely-made pin has many flaws and imperfections, which make it an unlikely candidate for "official" status.

Puerto Rico

       Puerto Rico - These four crudely-made pins were traded and sold in Atlanta in 1996 and were probably designed and manufactured without the consent or knowledge of the Bid Committee.

St. Petersburg

       St. Petersburg - This set of five thin, cloisonné pins was made by a resident of St. Petersburg to commemorate the "Olympic Mile" road race, which was held during the bid period. However, since the pins have noticeable defects and their official counterparts were thicker, raised enamel pins of much higher quality, it is likely that this set is simply a private issue and not authorized by the Bid Committee.

Seville

       Seville - This set of six Seville 2004 "Giraldilla" pins started appearing in early 2005 and may be "second-runs" or "re-makes".

Seville

Original Pin

Seville

Suspect Pin

       That possibility is further enhanced by the differences in color on the banners, and the appearances of the finishes on the backs of the respective pins.

       For example, the green on the banner of the suspect pin is noticeably darker than the green of the original pin, and the back of the suspect pin has a thick, wavy bead of metal extending to the left of the post compared to a very thin, straight line on the original pin.

       Because there is no definitive evidence that some of these "questionable" or "suspect" pins are, in fact, unauthorized and, therefore, should be properly classified as "impostors" or "fakes", some are included on the lists on this website with a notation in their descriptions alluding to their status.


Bid Pin Impostors

       Although this website is intended to be a reference guide, it would not be complete without addressing the problem of the many unauthorized pins which have been, and continue to be, incorrectly represented and/or classified as bid pins when they are not.

       One group of these unauthorized pins can be characterized as "fakes", "knock-offs", or "reproductions". These pins are made to resemble the original pins, but their existence has a negative effect of compromising the integrity, collectibility, and value of their bona fide counterparts.

Here are a few examples:

1996
Atlanta

Original Pinspace Fake Pin

       Atlanta - In 1996, this knock-off of an Atlanta 1996 "Circle of A's" bid pin appeared in the Atlanta area. Given the original pin's scarcity and desirability, this was probably inevitable, but fortunately, the fake pin differs from the original in four major areas:

  • space 1) The "circle" is smaller on the fake pin.
  • space 2) The text is shorter and closer together on the fake pin.
  • space 3) The "9's" and "6" have larger loops on the fake pin.
  • space 4) The rings are thinner and larger on the fake pin.

       Still, without having both pins for a side-by-side comparison, one could very easily be deceived.

Atlanta

Original Pinspace Fake Pin

       This Atlanta 1996 "Circle of A's" bid pin was worn on the scarves of the female members of the Bid Committee and hence, came to be known as the "scarf" pin. When its authorized manufacturer decided to produce an unauthorized "second run" it was a slightly larger size than the original.

1998
Salt Lake City

Original Pins - Obverse

Salt Lake City

Original-Reversespace Fake-Reverse

2002
Salt Lake City

Original Pinspace Fake Pin

Salt Lake City

Original Pinspace Fake Pin

      Salt Lake City - At the end of 1997, an Olympic pin dealer in Atlanta reproduced the two Salt Lake 1998 and two Salt Lake 2002 bid pins pictured above. Without having the original pins to compare to the fake pins it is difficult to see any differences.

       In the case of the two 1998 knock-offs, they look almost exactly like their original counterparts on the front but their backstamp is not quite as legible as that of the original, and the spacing and positioning on the pin is different.

       As for the two 2002 knock-offs, the vertical rectangular copy resembles the original at first glance, but a closer examination reveals the Olympic rings of the copy are a bit smaller and closer together, and does not have the cut-out spaces between rings on the top row like the original. In the case of the all-gold log pin, the copy is lighter in color than the original, and its Olympic rings are much more roughly cut-out than those of the original.

2000
Sydney

      Sydney - The two groups of pins shown above are knock-offs and were not authorized by the Australian Olympic Committee as their backstamps might lead one to believe. The manufacturer is unknown.

2012
Houston

Original Pinspace Fake Pin

      Houston - The original "boot" pin is made from gold-colored metal, and has a gold "99" at the top and white text at the bottom. The fake pin has a "SPACE CITY USA" backstamp, is made from silver-colored metal, and has a silver "99" at the top with silver text at the bottom.


Fantasy Pins

       Another category of unauthorized pins can be called "fantasy" pins. These pins may, or may not, resemble bona fide pins, but they are primarily intended to be unique and eye-catching, and showcase their makers' creative designs.

Here are a few examples:

1992
Barcelona

       Barcelona - Utilizing the Atlanta 1996 "Circle of A's" bid logo on pins connected with the Barcelona Summer Games resulted in these two intriguing designs.

Sofia

1994
Sofia

       Sofia - Here is a unique case of authentic bid pins being altered in order to create additional designs which were then sold or traded as variations. Apparently, this was a lot easier and cheaper than making new pins. A local trader in Sofia is responsible for adding color to the rings in each of the above pins.

1996
Atlanta

       Atlanta - These two pins from Savannah, Georgia, might have been even more popular if the Yachting Venue had actually produced bona fide bid pins.

Atlanta

       Atlanta - This pin, which exists in two slightly different sizes, was someone's idea of what a Stone Mountain Park "Circle of A's" pin might have looked like if an authorized one had been produced.

Atlanta

       Atlanta - Unfortunately, there were no authentic round "Circle of A's" pins made. Although this high-quality cloisonné pin is very attractive, it is nothing more than a fantasy souvenir.

2002
Sion

       Sion - An elegant and intricate pin depicting a waving Swiss Flag.

2004
Los Angeles

       Los Angeles - An adapation of the popular Los Angeles 1984 Welcome banner pin.

2010
Lillehammer

       Lillehammer - Some interesting pin designs featuring postage stamp designs and a Viking ship.

2012
Dallas

       Dallas - This interesting and patriotic set of cowboy hat pins first appeared in Sydney at the 2000 Olympic Games and, according to their backstamps, they were a limited edition of only 300.

New York

       New York - This "Big Apple" pin appeared in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. It was made by the "Plano Pin Co." according to the backstamp.


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 Some information on this page was taken from The Perlow Guide To Olympic Bid Pins.

1998-2017 Craig R. Perlow

This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), or the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of any country.