It may be the pin that we're collecting and the front of the pin that attracts us, but it's the back of the pin and the card it comes on that provide information and help us decide how authentic it is. A London 2012 pin has a range of tell-tale signs that help identify it as genuine.
The Pin Back
The pins issued by LOCOG have 2 key features which identify them as official pins. These are the distinctive pattern on the back and the backstamp or information panel.
The repeating pattern is called 'The Beiwen Pattern' (pronounced 'Bay-won') and appears as an asymmetric triangular shape which seems to have at least two varieties. There is no significance to the direction of the pattern and both are genuine.
Short left side and long right side
Long left side and short right side
The pattern on the back of each pin is engraved so you can feel the ridges. All of the commemorative pins issued to date (June 2009) and some of the partner pins have this pattern.
The backstamp is also engraved and takes the form of a rectangular border with rounded corners with either 2 or 4 lines of information.
Pins 1 - 5 have two lines of information
- A number in the form '2012-n' where n is the pin number
- (R)(C) LOCOG 2008, where the Registered and Copyright symbols indicate that the image on the pin is owned by LOCOG.
- The '2012-n' number
- '<= nnnnn', where nnnnn is the edition size, so <=10000 indicates this pin is from a limited edition size of 10,000
- TM (C) LOCOG 2008, indicating that the logo on the pin is a trademark and copyright of LOCOG
- 'Honav' indicating the manufacturer.
Note that pin 11 actually has the third line as (R)(C) LOCOG 2008, not TM
This information is correct at June 2009 but may become out of date as more pins are released.
Some potentially unofficial (fake) pins may have these markings in some form or another, so their presence does not, in itself, prove the pin is genuine. Look at the quality of the engraving, does the pattern look correct, is all the information there?
In August 2010, a new form of pin back appeared. Rather than being engraved, the pin back has been printed. The Beiwen pattern and the information box are still there, but the whole back is printed with black ink rather than being engraved. This back has been used on printed rather than enamelled pins.
The Backing Card
The retail pins are sold on a backing card. Not only does this allow the pin to be displayed at the point of sale, but also carries some standard elements:
On the front (of the original cards)
- Olympic and Paralympic logos
- a message about the retail pins explaining that the Games will be issuing 2,012 pins covering everything "from culture to sport, from the environment to education",
On the back (of the original cards)
- a barcode for stock control / pricing,
- manufacturer address details,
- 'manufactured under licence' wording,
- 'beware of the sharp point' warning.
- recycling information
- a holographic sticker with a number printed on it. This identifies that the pin is a genuine piece of London 2012 merchandise. Every souvenir that comes out of the Games shoud have this sticker, be it pins, stamps, coins etc. Even the passes for the Visa Party last August had stickers on them,
- on the first pins issued, the card contained a printed number. This indicated the specific pin number within the limited edition, presumably it is easier and therefore cheaper to print the number on the packaging rather than engrave it on the pin. These numbers only appear on early 2012 pins and are printed on the card irrespective of whether the pin is from a limited edition or not. It was thought that this printed number would enhance 'collectibility'. Presumably production costs prevented this number being printed on later backing cards.
There have been many version of the backing cards and the version numbers are referred to in the 'Commemorative' listings in the catalogue.
|Version 1 - First Used: August 2008|
50mm x 89mm
|Version 2 - First Used: July 2009|
50mm x 119mm
|Version 3 - First Used: August 2010|
50mm x 119mm
|Version 4 - First Used: September 2010|
50mm x 119mm
|Version 5 - First Used: March 2011|
43mm x 90mm