Types of Pins

Here we try to give a definition of the various types and groups of Olympic pins you may come across. Pins may fall into various groups, so we have tried to define them in the sections Classification, Category and Theme.

Hopefully you will be able to identify a pin as having a classification, belonging to a category and having a theme, for example, an official/sponsor/countdown pin.

This website aims to list all Official and Authorised London 2012 pins and will identify any unofficial or unauthorised if possible.


Official A pin using the official words, logo and symbols of the Olympic Games and issued by an organisation who has paid a licencing fee to the organising committee
Unofficial A pin which does not use any official words or branding as they are issued by an organisation who has not paid a licencing fee
Authorised A pin that is issued by an organisation connected to or recognised by the organising committee
Unauthorised A pin that is issued by an organisation not recognised by the organising committee. These pins are not copies of genuine pins, but are designs that try to look as if they are real
Counterfeit / Fake A pin that is a copy of an official or authorised pin but is produced by an unathorised organisation for the purpose of selling as a genuine pin

Commemorative / Souvenir Pins issued, usually by the organisaing committe, to commemorate the Games and usually for sale to the general public
Media Pins issued by the international media organisations covering the Games
National Olympic Committee (NOC)
National Paralympic Committee (NPC)
Pins issued by the National Olympic or Paralympic Committee of each participating country for their athletes, support staff and officials. These pins may be dated or marked specific to a single Games or they may be generic pins (see below).
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Pins issued by the IOC for their sessions when they convene. Not specifically produced for a particular Games.
Sports Federation / National Governing Body (NGB) Pins issued by the organising or governing bodies or federations of a particular sport or their sponsors
Police / Law Enforcement Pins issued by the police forces or supporting services connected to the Games
Government Pins issued by local or regional Government of a host city
Partner / Sponsor / Corporate Pins issued by the companies who supply funding, services, materials or resources to the organisation and execution of the Games. They usually combine the Games logo with the company logo. Click here to read more.
Official / Volunteer Pins issued to the Games officials and volunteers
Internal Pins issued to the staff or VIPs of the organising committee
Bid / Candidate City Pins issued by the organising committee in the process of tendering for the Games and when the final shortlist of candidate cities is announced. Used to publicise the bid

Logo Pins which use the Games logo or symbols as the main subject of the pin
Mascot Pins which use the Games mascots as the main subject of the pin
Countdown / Milestone Pins issued at key dates or milestones in the run up to the Games
Handover / Bridge Pins which link two or more Games. Usually issued to mark the transition of the Games from one host city to the next, they combine the logos of each Games
Venue / Stadium Pins which identify the key locations, venues and stadia used during the Games
Sport Pins which identify the sports taking place during the Games
Ceremony Pins to commemorate the ceremonies in the lead up to the Games and the Opening and Closing ceremonies
Cultural Pins which identify cultural aspects of the host city and country and also support the Cultural Olympiad
Pictogram Pins which display the offical pictograms or symbols of the Games' events
Host City Regions Pins issued to identify the regions that make up the host city
Torch Relay Pins issued to celebrate the torch relay available to the public
Torchbearer Pins issued to those who carry the torch and not available to the public
Other Pin Definitions

Generic A pin which is not specific to a particular Olympic Games but is issued to mark a number of Games or association to the Olympics for a number of years.
Usually issued by NOCs or worldwide sponsors.
By definition, these pins are not directly linked to London 2012 and will therefore not be catalogued although a simple list is provided here.
Primary A pin which contains the offical logo of the Games

Thanks to www.pincollectorssite.com for assistance in creating the definitions on this page
and also to the '1996 Olympic Games Countdown - The Official Book of Olympic Games Pin Collecting'