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Light Your Own Olympic Torch — Just $41,000


The Pitch:

If you’re an Olympic fanatic, why not carry the torch for the games – literally? Yes, genuine Olympic torches, including the same ones carried in the weeks and days leading up to the London summer showcase, have found their way on to the memorabilia market. And they’re going for some very gold-medal-worthy prices on eBay. An Australian dealer is hawking a torch for $41,000, touting the “chance to own an OFFICIAL piece of Olympic history” and describing the cone-shaped collectible as a “magnificent piece” that’s  “beautifully engineered.” Another seller prices a torch at a more “modest” $4,900, but concedes it lacks “the burner system inside” (loose translation: good luck lighting the thing). Still, the seller says it could be a “fantastic” piece “for your sporting memorabilia collection.”

The Reality:

The only thing that may be fantastic about these flame-carrying gizmos is the price. At best, say collecting pros, there’s a small market for Olympic memorabilia – and a smaller one for Olympic torches specifically — and that doesn’t bode well for anyone hoping to see the kind of returns on investment associated with other rarities, such as art, antiques or even certain baseball cards. More to the point: If you’re going to buy, the worst time to do so is – you guessed it – during the games, when Olympic fever tends to inflate the prices. Craig R. Perlow, an expert on Olympics memorabilia who runs the Olympian Artifacts site, says mass-produced torches – at least 8,000 were reportedly made for the London games – typically command a price of about $2,000 after Olympic fever cools off. The figure could eventually go up from there, Perlow adds, but he says that collectors need to be in it for the long run – more like a marathon than, say, a 3,000-meter race.

For those looking for perhaps a quicker or more dramatic profit, Perlow suggests considering Olympic items with a crossover appeal, meaning ones that could command attention from a broader range of fans and collectors because of the athletes involved. He points to Muhammad Ali-related Olympic collectibles or basketball “Dream Team” pieces (Perlow recently spotted Charles Barkley’s Olympic credentials from the ’92 games). Of course, if you’re still carrying the torch for Olympic torches, there’s another possibility: buy a replica. British toymaker Corgi produced a miniature version of the 2012 model. The tiny torch proved so popular that Corgi has apparently sold out of its stock, but no worry: We still found one on eBay for a mere $20 – shipping included.

Cameron Spencer/AFP/GettyImages
Five-time Olympic rowing gold medalist Steve Redgrave of Great Britain carries the torch during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


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    • By WebOsPublisher

      Chair under construction. Please sit down later | iQ Content blog
      a color: #9dcd68!important;
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      Chair under construction. Please sit down later
      July 4, 2007 by Colman Walsh
      I have seen this chair in a meeting room over the past several months. The sign is clear and well written. But the problem-solving approach reminds me of those “under construction” icons that can still be seen on some professional websites.
      Surely a better use of the sign-writer’s time would have been to remove the chair from the room, or even get it fixed.
      The sign, like the icons, hopes to convey a sense of progress; that something is being done. In reality, nothing is happening. The chair is just taking up space, and potential users are left bemused.
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    • Yea, it’s cool to know people from other coreutins like what we’re doing, but I think we rely too much on that. This country lacks the confidence and common-sense to just get on and do things properly. Looks international standard already

    • The worst of times…the best of times…and things are not alwyas as they seem.Last week, camping out again to buy homes in NE Mesa? There are markets within markets. Within cities, within neighborhoods, within States, within the USA.Australia was touted as having some of the highest home prices and appreciation. Sydney was crashing and burning and the real estate market there was to be an indicator of what to expect here. Hmmmm, no crash and burn, stagnation, some outer suburbs saw price declines, but homes there are still twice of here on average.Britain, Europe? Higher prices still…wait till their market softens and drops. We are getting back to the norm. The house I just purchased was $84 a sq ft loaded. The price adjusted for inflation to 1982 (the last time Phoenix saw a crunch and I had purchased my first home, a starter with limited upgrades for $45 as sq ft, the new house works out to $35 a sq ft loaded). So, how low can it go? They’ve sold 27 homes in my new neighborhood within four months.Inflation rising? So, why isn’t owning at 6% fixed better that everything rising at 7-8% (real inflation)?

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