The 2008 Olympics have barely begun and collectors are already jockeying for possession of Beijing memorabilia. But serious shoppers are bypassing the hundreds of official knickknacks, hoping instead to score big-ticket items such as medals and sweaty uniforms, Portfolio reports. It's serious business: A gold medal from the 1904 Games in St. Louis—651 athletes vs. 11,000 this year—recently brought in $49,000, and jerseys from the 1992 “Dream Team” went for $10,800.
This year, however, collectors will have a hard time getting their hands on one of the most coveted Olympic objects: torches. China has broken with tradition and reclaimed its 20,000-plus flames from the runners who carried them, prompting one dealer to predict lower value for the items when they eventually reach market. A torch usually fetches at least $5,000.