Own a 'piece of Olympic history' with new London 2012 memorabilia auction site


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The Independent Online

Fancy a peasant girl’s outfit worn in the Opening Ceremony or the “work for women” banner carried by a suffragette? Perhaps your sporting collection won’t be complete without the warm-up bibs sweated through before the Men’s Gold medal football final and the Wembley goal netting to boot?

Everything must go in the great London 2012 auction as thousands of mementoes, from javelins hurled inside the Olympic Stadium to the over-sized Wenlock mascot planted in Westminster Abbey, are sold off to collectors in an eBay-style sale.

Locog has approved an Official London 2012 Auction Site which will allow fans to “own a piece of Olympic history” - and help the organising committee meet its share of the £2 billion cost of staging the Games and the nationwide Torch relay.

The most popular items, authenticated with an official Games hologram, include the basketball nets, shot puts, shuttlecocks, hockey balls and other equipment rescued after medal events.

Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony has also been mined for items of value. Bids had risen to £315 by Friday afternoon for a complete black Mary Poppins costume worn by an aerial cast member during the scene in which the fictional nanny saved children from the evil Voldemort.

Workers’ banners, a farmer’s sickle and a floral Summer maypole used in sequences illustrating Britain’s transition to an industrial society are also available.

Mementoes from the Games more controversial events will be placed on the site, the organisers promised, including the score sheets from the Badminton women’s doubles matches which led to the disqualification of eight players for seeking to manipulate the knock-out stages draw.

Boxers who launched protests against baffling decisions involving Azerbaijani fighters will be able to bid for the judges’ original scorecards.

Items from the Olympic Village will follow, once the athletes have left town. Jon Curleigh, Director at Innovative Sports Limited, the company operating the auction, said: “The best is yet to come. There will be tens of thousands of items available. We won’t have the sheets that Usain Bolt slept in but people will be amazed at what they can get their hands on.”

Could a bidder with deep pockets find the world’s largest, harmonically-tuned bell, rung by Bradley Wiggins to launch the Opening Ceremony, delivered to their front door?  “We have a very special plan for that,” said Curleigh.

Locog officials are on hand to wrest relay batons and other items of value from athletes. Bids of £3,000 are already logged for the basketball used in the men’s Gold medal final, days before it takes place.

Complete medal presentation podiums will be sold. But Mr Curleigh said that items of national importance, such as the flag carried by Sir Chris Hoy into the Olympic Stadium, would be preserved in a Team GB museum on the Olympic site.

Some medal-winning athletes may be reluctant to hand over match-winning balls or boxing gloves at their moment of triumph. “We won’t take the vest off your back,” Mr Curleigh promised. The tennis balls used by Andy Murray in his Gold-winning defeat of Roger Federer will be sold and are expected to go for more than £1,000 each.

Bradley Wiggins is proving the most popular British athlete on the auction site - a signed limited edition Torch has already gone for £13,000. A 126kg life-size steel sculpture of the champion cyclist on his bike is heading for a £5,000 sale. “There are some cumbersome items that you will probably have to put in the garden,” Mr Curleigh conceded.