Communique #6 Now Available

Communique #6 – 1st AICOlympiad, 2014-2018

President’s Message

Olympic collectors! Who are they? There is no single right answer. Certainly, it can be said that everyone has in common a passion for Olympic history, the Olympic Games and Olympic sports. Even the smallest printed scrap of paper, or thickest official report from the Games is savored. Anything that can be pinned to clothes or put on the head, captures our attention. And so much more! Many collectors dream of owning, or already have, torches, while others seek that most valuable of memorabilia, Olympic medals. However, we are different in the way we collect and present collectibles, whether it’s postage stamps, pins or memorabilia.

We operate individually or associated in collectors’ clubs on national or international levels. It was 19 clubs of Olympic collectors from around the world that established the International Association of Olympic Collectors, IAOC
(Association Internationale des Collectionneurs Olympiques, AICO) on May 24, 2014 in Lausanne and from that day we began to write our joint story. With due gratitude, we note, especially in this initial period, the organizational support of Mr. Francis Gabet, then director of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne; Mr. David Maiden (Melbourne), adviser on behalf of the IOC; and Mrs. Jocelyne Bernhard of Blonay, who provides volunteer administrative support. We highly value the participation on the EB of Ms. Stephanie Coppex, a representative on behalf of the IOC, who with her experience and commitment has helped us navigate IOC procedures.

The association’s activities are managed by the Executive Board (Conseil d’Administration), composed of Dr. Roman BABUT, Poland, President (2014-2016, 2016-2020), Mark MAESTRONE, USA, 1st Vice President (2014-2018), Massimiliano BRUNO, Italy, 2nd Vice President (2016-2020), Christophe AITBRAHAM, France, Secretary (2014-2018) and Dr. Branislav Delej, Slovakia, Treasurer (2014-2018). We also must mention our colleague on the inaugural EB, Gianni GALEOTTI, Italy, 2nd Vice President who passed away in 2015.

Olympic collecting and AICO were recognized by the IOC authorities which granted us the prestigious status of “organization recognized by the international Olympic Committee” and the right to use the appropriate symbol. Information on AICO is also available in the IOC’s DIRECTORY (October 2017, p. 192). A special distinction is the invitation of Dr. Roman BABUT, AICO President, to serve as a member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission. During the annual meetings of the Commission, issues related to Olympic collecting are presented to IOC Members and numerous representatives of the Olympic family.

The first four-year period 2014-2018 — the 1st AICOlympiad — has nearly concluded. It is therefore fitting to  summarize the achievements and to look critically at events during this period.

As one of the first important activities of AICO, it undertook, together with the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, the task of finding and presenting candidates for World Olympic Collectors’ Fairs (WOCF). Using a set of criteria created especially by AICO for candidates, a preliminary assessment by the AICO EB was presented to the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission. We are convinced that we have been successful in carrying out this important responsibility, ensuring the continuity of this key global event for collectors. Our WOCFs portfolio for 2015-2021 looks rather impressive: Lake Placid 2015, Gothenburg 2016, Bratislava 2017, Los Angeles (Long Beach) 2018, Warsaw 2019 and Paris 2021. We hope that the 2020 fair (currently vacant) will find an organizer in Asia. It should be emphasized that all fairs from 2015 on were all organized by AICO member clubs.

AICO’s showcase is the website (, which is an open public platform for the presentation of Olympic and sports collecting and AICO’s activities.

The website, in addition to the presentation of organizational content and current information, is expanding to include new additions to the RESOURCES module. It is there that essential and substantive content for advanced collectors is located, providing structured and verified catalogs from various areas of collecting. New collectors are encouraged to learn about the history of Olympism and collectibles through information on the TIME LINE (continually updated). New educational modules are under development.

The first AICO flagship project in the RESOURCES area is building a digital catalog of publications in all areas of Olympic collecting

and creating (physically) an Olympic collector’s library that will constitute, in addition to club’s newsletters and individual publications, the main source of knowledge. This project is being carried out in cooperation with the Olympic World Library (OWL) operating within the Olympic Studies Center of the IOC in Lausanne and the Museum of Sport and Tourism in Warsaw (about 1,000 publications in this area have already been collected in the museum). It should be mentioned that the OWL is carrying out a large project to create a global e-system of Olympic libraries and we hope that our modest library resources will be included in this system in the near future.

Member clubs of SPI and AFCOS have taken an important initiative to provide access to their journal archives, thus protecting their achievements, and presenting to a wide array of collectors a treasure trove of materials in the form of
specialized thematic articles. The pilot project is currently under implementation. Nearly 10,000 pages of archival material has been scanned in searchable PDFs in cooperation with the American Philatelic Research Library. These archives are now available to the general public on the AICO / RESOURCES website.

Following a meeting of the members of the AICO Pin Committee in Bratislava in September 2017, the EB decided to implement another flagship project, which is to make available under the RESOURCES tab on the AICO website, the NOC PIN CATALOG, a static version, which will contain individual entries organized alphabetically by country and presented as PDFs. Concurrently, preparations are under way to build an interactive digital catalog of the NOC pins for all desktop and mobile devices.

On the basis of discussions held by AICO’s committees in Bratislava, the potential and expectations of collectors were identified, which in turn allowed AICO to formulate a long-term concept for the development of the website described in the document AICO ROAD MAP 2018-2021 which is presented elsewhere in this report. The pace of implementation of individual projects will depend on the development of the appropriate IT structure and software, as well as available resources.

I hope that the boards of the AICO Member Clubs, along with their many members, will become actively involved in the implementation of such ambitious projects by sharing their collections and specialist knowledge. We are heading into the next election of the AICO Executive Board, which will be conducted during the 24th World Olympic Collectors’ Fair in Los Angeles in September 2018. I hope that the AICO General Assembly will accept the proposed
main directions for activities during the 2nd AICOlympiad, which will foster quality Olympic philately, numismatics and memorabilia collecting related to the historical and cultural aspects of the Olympic Movement through:

– website development in accordance with the “AICO ROAD MAP 2018-2021”;

– acquiring new AICO members through promotion of the beauty and excitement
of Olympic collecting;

– and demonstrating the joy of being a member of the Olympic collecting Family,
making it possible to realize one’s Olympic dreams.

Dr. Roman Babut

click here to read Communique #6

Photo: The Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission, Lausanne, 8 November 2017, Source: IOC