MEET 76-year-old retired businessman and Jewish philanthropist Sid Marantz, who lives in Los Angeles.
Marantz is one of the world’s most committed pin traders, is vice president of the board of directors of Olympin, which bills itself as “the world’s largest Olympic collectors club”.
“I’m in it basically just for the fun,” he said.
Marantz became an Olympics enthusiast – with a special interest in Jewish and Israeli athletes – at an early age. He was a teen when his family travelled to Europe for a vacation that ended at the 1960 Rome Olympics. It was at the 1976 Montreal Games that pin trading first caught his attention.
“We bought a few and we traded and they were gone, and we bought more and we bought more,” he said. “That was my introduction to Olympic pin trading and collecting.”
Marantz said he’s traded pins with everyone from Olympians themselves to heads of state and celebrities. The biggest names among his trading partners include Prince Albert of Monaco and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But he said the vast majority have been locals who have dabbled in the hobby when their hometowns have hosted the global sports gathering.
“It’s an activity without class distinction,” said Marantz.
He estimates that he’s spent more than $US10,000 ($A13,500) amassing a collection of more than 12,000 pins – not including the costs of going to each Olympics, of course.