They may be small, but Frank Zavarella’s collection of 2010 Olympic pins is a big part of his life — and worth a pretty penny on the pin collectors’ market.
Zavarella will be taking his 250 or so tiny collectibles – worth around $1,250 – to the Richmond Oval this weekend, where a few hundred other pinheads will be converging for the 28th annual Olympin Collectors Show.
“When you receive a pin, it’s an instant connection to a place or an event,” said Zavarella. “And it’s something that travels the world.”
Zavarella said the hobby is similar to stamp collecting or trading stickers and hockey cards on school playgrounds.
“As a collector, you want to get (unique) pins, and that’s where the chase is involved,” he said. “Some you get and you’re like, ‘Oh wow. I can’t believe I just got that pin,’ because you’ve been searching for it for so long.”
One of Zavarella’s most prized 2010 pins was one worn by a delegate that went to Prague when it was announced Vancouver had been awarded the Games.
He also has a rare pin that depicts the Italian and Canadian flags – to recognize the bridge between the Torino and Vancouver Games – that’s valuable because the Italian flag was accidentally printed backwards.
“This is what collectors look for,” he said.