Calgary 1988 Winter Olympic torch could fetch $60K US in auction

The reason this Olympic relic is so valuable is because it’s never been lit, still has all of its original wicks and is one of only about 100 produced for the '88 games.

'Fewer of them seem to be around as they get scratched or broken or tossed out,' says Dale Oviatt of Winsport

Bids begin Jan. 14 for the Calgary '88 Winter Olympic torch. (RR Auction)

A 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics torch that has never been lit is expected to fetch thousands at auction next week.

A Boston-based auction house estimates the top bid for the pristine Olympic icon will be between $50,000 to $60,000 US.

"This is a marvellous example of the utmost rarity," Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction said a media release.  

(RR Auction )

"Calgary, unlike a lot of the other countries when they had the their torch relays… people shared them as they went across country," said Dale Oviatt, a spokesman for WinSport.

"Other countries — essentially everyone got one [torch] when they had their turn and then their sponsors and all those other folks. So there are thousands for Sochi [out there], but for the Calgary games there's only about 100."

Winsport houses one of the '88 torches in its Calgary office. There are another five on permanent display in the city at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame — including the one that lit the cauldron at McMahon Stadium during the opening ceremonies.

"Over the years fewer and fewer of them seem to be around as they get scratched or broken or tossed out eventually. People don't understand the value of them," said Oviatt.

The torch that's going on the auction block Jan. 14 still has all of its original, unused wicks.

It's owned by an American woman who collects Olympic memorabilia. 

The pristine torch from Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics was never used and still has all four of its original wicks. (RR Auction)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.