Those who are lucky enough to be heading to the 2012 Olympics in London this summer would be well-advised to pay close attention to what some may consider trash.
A Reuters story reminds Games-goers that one person's trash might be another person's collectible. And what might be considered of little value today, may, in fact, become quite valuable in several decades.
"The value of sports memorabilia is very difficult to determine on a per item basis," says Dan Kubin, manager of AJ Sports World in Vaughan. "Everything is worth what people are willing to pay for. And certain collectibles are worth more than others and it all depends on the rarity of the item."
Which means that a score keeper's badge from the 1908 Olympics could fetch more than the score keeper himself had possibly ever imagined. In fact, one such item sold at auction for more than $2,500 because of its rarity, reports Reuters.
Historical and social value will also add to the monetary value of an item. Gladys Serafino, manager at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary, may not track the monetary value of items the Hall of Fame receives as donations, but she certainly knows a thing or two about the historical and social value of Olympic memorabilia.
"The programs, the tickets, the result books that you might pick up that day, the schedules, it all talks about the Games as they're being held," she says. "And 50 years later, this is exciting stuff to get."
Serafino points out that many of the items the Hall of Fame acquires are very important historically.
"How were the Games organized in 1908? Well, they didn't keep the kind of record keeping that we keep today. So when you're trying to research on the Olympic Games, it's very difficult unless you have the programs and the results — it's sometimes very difficult to get that information."
The Hall of Fame itself counts medals — which Reuters claims are the most coveted items of all because of the stories associated with winning them — uniforms, athlete scrapbooks, athletic gear, track shoes, programs and more as part of their collection.
What items does Serafino suggest visitors of the London Games keep?
"If they can get their hands on a poster, they might want to keep that," she says. "There's more than one poster that's put out for the games, so there's a variety you can get."
She also says that many people don't collect items from the Paralympic Games, which makes Paralympic memorabilia harder to find.
"Not many people collect stuff from that, so they should be collecting Paralympic as well as Olympic," Serafino says.
And anything a Games-goer might pick up during the day of the event they're going to see is a keeper, says Serafino.
"Their ticket stub is quite fun to keep. And if you're an athlete, you've got an accreditation card that says 'I'm an Olympian.'"
Watch the video below for an inside look at the families of Olympians.