Ebay Items of the Week: Vintage Goggles, And the Perfect Gift for a SWIMOM

It’s already August, so you know what that means: Christmas is right around the corner! Let’s see what cool items are out there that should be on every Swim Geek’s wishlist.

1. Delaware “SWIMOM” License Plate ($19.99 – Curent Bid)

No, you can’t actually register this license plate that expired in 1994. You’d have to go through the Delaware DMV for that. But, if you want a cool wall hanging, and you’re from Delaware, you can bid on this SWIMOM license plate from Delaware. (Bid here).

2. 1960 Rome Olympics “Athlete” Pin ($333.99 – Current Bid)

This pin from the 1960 Olympics in Rome, the first and last time they were held there, that was given to participants of the swimming, diving, and water polo competitions for the 17th edition of the Summer Games. The pin seems to be in fairly good condition for its age, and mimics the design of an old Roman coin. (Warning from seller: don’t try and clean the item, or you will ruin its value). (Bid here).

3. 1930 Helene Madison High School Year Book ($24.99 – Current Bid)

Helene Madison was a star of women’s swimming in the 1930’s. In 1932, at just 19 years old, she won the women’s 100 free, the women’s 400 free, and the women’s 400 free relay gold medals, giving her victories in three of the six Olympic disciplines for women at the time. This year book is from her junior season at Lincoln High School in Seattle from the year 1930, that includes a feature image of her with the caption “Breaker of 8 World Records, 6 American Records, Miami, Florida, March 13-17.” (How did you spend YOUR spring break, Helene?)  Madison likely would have won even more medals but by the 1936 Olympics was considered a ‘professional’ because of appearances in films The Human Fish and Warrior’s Husband. She was inducted into the ISHOF in 1966, passed away from throat cancer in 1970, and became a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1992. (Bid here).

A page from the yearbook of 1932 triple Olympic gold medalist Helene Madison (Photo: duffscolletibles2005)

A page from the yearbook of 1932 triple Olympic gold medalist Helene Madison (Photo: duffscolletibles2005)

4. 1933 Johnny Weissmuller Gum Package ($169.00 – Current Bid)

Gum packs, along with tobacco products, were huge drivers of the baseball card industry in the early part of the 20th century. They often didn’t survive in great condition, and so the value, for the right players, can be sky-high (This Babe Ruth version from 1933 is selling for $800). They didn’t only print baseball celebrities, though. This Sports Kings gum card is of Johnny Weissmuller, who is easily swimming’s Babe Ruth. Weissmuller won five Olympic gold medals in swimming in 1924 and 1928, added a bronze in water polo from ’24, and was also a world-famous actor who played Tarzan in 12 different roles (and is probably the most famous Tarzan in history). (Bid here).

5. Vintage Welco Olympic Swimming Goggles ($14.00 – Current Bid)

These are really a trip – some vintage goggles, with the box, sold by the Welsh Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island. Included in the claims on the box are “Shatter Proof Lens,” “Olympic Swimming Goggle,” and “Watertight Fits Facial Contours”. The goggles aren’t dated, but our best guess is probably 1960’s. That’s based on the style of the goggles, and the fact that the Welsh Manufacturing Company (which made a huge range of products) went out of business in 1972. (Bid here).

6. Indiana Swimming 2012 Olympic Trials Team Jacket, Large ($9.99 – Current Bid)

For any Hoosier fans (and we know there’s some of you out there), this is a genuine, with tags, jacket that was given to the 16 members of the Indiana University swim team that swam at the 2012 Olympic Trials, plus probably support staff. If you want some cool, wearable Indiana gear, $10 is a heck of a deal. (Bid here).

7. Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte “Worn Memorabilia” Cards ($68.95)

Topps has started selling trading cards with swatches of “worn memorabilia” of undetermined nature. These cards are a cash-cow – they can be marked up in a huge way, and then one item of clothing that the athletes wore at some point (suit, warm-ups, etc.) is cut up into hundreds or more pieces. But, if you’re a fan of the GOAT or a member of Lochte Nation, it’s still pretty cool to have something that two of the greatest swimmers of their generation wore. (Buy here).

8. Pool Tile from RMS Olympic ($299.99)

This is a tile from the pool aboard the RMS Olympic, the massive cruise liner operated by the White Star Line in the early part of the century. This was the first of the trio of Olympic-Class ships that included the Titanic and the Britannic. The Olympic spent a good part of the 1910’s, 20’s, and 30’s as the world’s largest ocean liner, and was the only of the three behemoths that didn’t sink. This tile was salvaged after the ship was scrapped in 1935. This ship would have seen the feet of some of the truly famous people of the first half of the 20th century, including names like Charles Schwab. (Buy here).

Photo: whitestarlines-uk/Ebay)

Photo: whitestarlines-uk/Ebay)


9. 1995 Summer Olympic Commemorative Half-Dollar ($29.99 – Current Bid)

This is sort of a terrible deal. Given how many of these things are floating around, and how many people collected them thinking that they’d be worth money, it’s unlikely that the market would allow the value to get too high in the near future. Consider also that coins selling on eBay for other sports are running around $20 right now. Somehow, though, a slew of these available for swimming are over $100 – likely folks trying to take advantage of buyers failing to price compare. But that doesn’t make it any less cool – good pitch, right? The best deal we found was $29.99. (Bid here).

10. 1887 United States Nortrey St. Swimming 2nd Place Medal ($175.00)

I would be sure to get this medal authenticated before purchasing, because of how remarkably good its condition is for the age, but the seller has 99.7% positive feedback, so that’s a start. This is the oldest swimming-related item we’ve ever seen on eBay. I don’t even have a concept of what swimming would have looked like in 1887. This medal is engraved on the back as “2nd prize” from “Swimming Competition” in 1887, from the Nortrey St. Evening Classes. (Buy here).

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Wow those goggles, did everyone in the 60s have huge eyes or something? 🙂

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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