The Winter Olympics ended last weekend, and the Summer Games are five months away. But there's still time for collectors to get in shape for the Olympics' most popular sport -- pin collecting.
Reports from Albertville, France, indicate that more than 1 million pins were traded by 350,000 people at the official pin centers run by Coca-Cola.
For those who couldn't make it to France, the International Pin Collectors Club could be the ticket to beginning or augmenting a collection. It was founded in 1980 and has 2,000 members worldwide.
According to Rowan Fay, the club's founder and president, it also deals with other Olympic memorabilia such as banners, tickets and mugs, but the orientation is clearly pins.
Fay says he caught pin fever at the 1980 Winter Games at Lake Placid, N.Y., and started the club shortly afterward. He also attended the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta, and plans to be in Barcelona, Spain, this summer. Business kept him away from Albertville, but his daughter was there with 1,000 pins to swap.
The club's newsletter lists pins for sale by category, such as sport, sponsor, country, media and Coca-Cola.
"We couldn't possibly put all the pins in our newsletter," he says. "The largest pin collection wouldn't have them all. . . . Every time you turn around, you find something different. With all our contacts worldwide . . . we find pins we didn't even know existed."
Fay says the specialized listings are helpful because many people buy pins for gifts.
As for pins of the former Soviet Union, Fay says, "There has been a bit of interest in them, but it's too early to tell how valuable they'll become."
Interested collectors can write to International Pin Collectors Club, Box 430, Marcy, N.Y. 13403 for a complementary newsletter and membership information. Annual dues are $10.
All-Madden cards: For the second straight year, Action Packed has produced a card set of the All-Madden team. This time there will be randomly inserted 24-karat gold versions of all the cards. The 52-card set includes the All-Madden trophy, pro golfer John Daly and Washington Redskins Mark Rypien, Gary Clark, Jim Lachey, Darrell Green, Charles Mann, Wilber Marshall, Art Monk and Joe Jacoby. Not included is Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who was chosen by broadcaster John Madden for the team but who is not a member of the NFL Players Association and has not granted the NFLPA the right to authorize the use of his name or likeness. Cards will be available in mid-March in foil packs and sets.
Golden stars: Action Packed, which is again sponsoring the NFL Players Association's awards banquet, is producing a limited-edition set of cards featuring the honorees. All 16 cards in the set will be 24-karat gold. Banquet attendees will receive sets marked "banquet edition," and 1,000 additional numbered sets will be packaged in special binders. The cards, which will be available in April, preview Action Packed's 1992 look: larger action photos and a gold stripe bordered in red (AFC) or blue (NFC), which will be overlapped by the photo.
Today, baseball card show, Hunt Valley Mall, noon to 6 p.m.
Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.
Saturday, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
Sunday, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26, Sykesville), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
March 13, baseball card show, West Middle School, Westminster, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., (410) 848-8411 or (410) 346-7837.
March 14-15, baseball card show, Glen Burnie Mall; March 14, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; March 15, noon to 5 p.m.