One of the absolute favorites, in my collection, is an FBI pin from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. During the early 1990’s, besides being a member of the Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club, I was also a member of the Olympin Club, which is located in Schenectady, New York, USA. This club is comprised mainly of Olympic pin collectors who live in various parts of the world. In those days I collected all kinds of Olympic pins, my favorite being the Olympic Police pins. Naturally, finding them wasn’t easy as there were a lot of fakes being sold in the market.
The only comparable traders I had in those days were police pins from the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Although I really liked those pins, I yearned for the more exotic and hard to find ones. In an effort to obtain that elusive jewel of a pin, I started combing the large membership list of the Olympin Club. My efforts bore fruit when I found names of several Olympic Police Pin Collectors. I then started a massive letter writing campaign to those collectors. Most of them weren’t interested in my meager list of traders, but one collector was kind enough to write me back. His name was Russ, an FBI employee, and a police pin collector.
When Russ first sent me a photocopy of his Olympic Police pin traders, I was just like a kid in a candy store, wanting all that he had. Reality soon set in when I found out how valuable and rare some of those pins were! Realizing that I couldn’t have them all, I decided to focus only on a few of them. My absolute favorite was a beautiful 1984 Los Angeles Olympics FBI pin. Since Russ worked for the FBI, I realized that the pin was authentic. After some pleasant negotiating back and forth, he graciously accepted my 1988 Calgary Olympics Police Chief “Silver Fox” pin in trade. You would think that this story is now over since I managed to make the trade. Not so; I have continued to trade with Russ for several years. We became pen pals and shared many stories with one another. In 1997, my wife, Gina, and I visited Los Angeles. Russ lived in Orange County near LA and offered to let us stay with him for a few days. We accepted with thanks. Then our exciting adventure began.
After arriving in LA by car, and with Russ as our guide, we saw many interesting places, including Disney land, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Orange County, Oceanside restaurants, beautiful scenery, fantastic shops, etc. The highlight of our trip was meeting Russ, his wife and his daughter Maryann, a movie star. We received an autographed picture of Maryann as a gift, which we proudly display in our home. The amazing thing about the story is that it all started with a simple letter to a stranger asking if he would be willing to trade Olympic Police pins with me…