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World Olympic Collectors' Fair Celebrates Athens Roots


Stathis and Nelly Douramakos at the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia. (ATR)

(ATR) After the Olympic flame departs Athens, the spirit will remain at the 18th World Collectors’ Fair, continuing through Sunday at the historic Zappeion Megaron.

More than 100 people are official participants, with 70 tables booked by collectors and dealers from around the world, including Switzerland and the United States. Participants were also invited to attend flame-related ceremonies in Olympia and Athens.

At the Fair dinner Saturday night, Norway was announced as the site of the 19th edition next spring, at a date and city to be confirmed later.

Stathis Douramakos, a Greek memorabilia dealer who is on the organizing committee, tells Around the Rings that having the show held in Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, “gives participants not only the opportunity to participate in one more (the 18th) IOC international Olympic collector's Fair, but also a once-in-a lifetime experience to witness the lighting of the flame in Olympia from the seats where (Greek Olympic Committee) members only sit, and the handing-over ceremony to the London Games organizers in the Panathenaic stadium from VIP seating.”

Banners for the fair. (ATR)

The World Olympic Collectors Fair, which is sanctioned by the IOC, is the largest Olympic memorabilia show. It was held in Chicago last year and previous fairs have taken place in Cologne, Warsaw, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Beijing and Lausanne.

With the 2012 Olympics in London, interest has skyrocketed in medals and badges particularly from the 1908 London Games. Collectors and dealers also buy, sell and trade torches, pins, mascots, stamps, coins, tickets, programs and just about anything else bearing the Olympic Rings.

The fair is being held in conjunction with an Olympic memorabilia exhibition May 15-20, which should increase foot traffic from the general public.

The Hellenic Post will operate an office in Zappeion, known as the first building in the world to be constructed in order to serve Olympic needs.

Douramakos believes the Fair should be held in Athens before each Summer Olympic Games.

The Zeppeion, an 1896 Games venue, is the location for the fair. (ATR)

“Knowing the importance of those events not only to people passionate about Olympic Games, but for the whole world which is now more than ever in need of the spread of light, peace, and joy,” he says, “I would only think that it should be considered every four years that along with the lighting of the flame for each Olympics, for the IOC Olympic Collectors Fair of that year, to be held in Athens.”

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