LONDON, UK (CBS) -- The Olympic Games are full of tradition. But there is one that has nothing to do with sports. For more than 100 years people have been coming from around the world to trade pins.
Al Falcao, 73, has 35,000 collectable pins; everything from Japanese newspapers to the Bank of Scotland. He says, "Pins are a means to an end, the end is building relationships and I make a lot of friends while trading pins."
Falcao has traded at 12 Olympic Games, and has learned to be picky. He rejects nearly 10 times more pins than he accepts." Ella Canbin, 8, walked away from Falcao's collection empty handed. She says, "A bit disappointed."
Pins and pin collectors come from around the world, and Falcao knows how to make a deal. Like most die-hard collectors, he refuses to buy or sell pins. The only thing he's spent on his collection is time, 10 hours a day during the games. He says, "Trading pins is like being at boot camp because it's hectic it's from morning 'til night."
Tracy Martin is an author on collectibles, and says the most popular pins this Olympics celebrate British landmarks. Collectibles expert Tracy Martin says, "Its Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus. They cost 8 pounds and then they're selling for like triple their value within days of release."
But Falcao says it's not about money or even pins but the thrill of the hunt. He says, "It's the joy of the pursuit of the pin. It goes on a board like a piece of museum of art."
And Falcao's collection is truly one of a kind. It's believed that pin trading dates back to the 1896 Olympics in Athens, where pins were used to identify athletes and judges.