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Sharing the wealth of memories: how you can relive the Glasgow Games

First impressions of the site that holds some of the Glasgow Games' most talked-about props are a little underwhelming - it is, after all, a warehouse located on an industrial estate.

Image: Nick Ponty
Image: Nick Ponty

But a little further down the walkway inside, past masses of brown boxes, the detritus clears to reveal what, from a distance, appears to be an indigenous patch of giant toadstools.

Closer inspection shows these fungi to be the teacakes that appeared in the Games' Opening Ceremony, clumped together in groups of twos and threes. Some are perfectly preserved, and some are punctuated with arm holes where they were worn as costumes.

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"There were 30 to begin with," explains Todd Brunel, director of product development at Innovative Sports. "The first batch sold for around £1500-£1600 each and we've a few left now."

Brunel is also a principal of the Canada-based company, which - put simply - acts as an auction house for some the world's biggest sporting events: your Olympics and your Commonwealth Games. Innovative Sports has worked on Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, and is well-versed in what a huge job selling off accrued sporting memorabilia can be.

There are over 5000 items in the Hillington warehouse - and not just the obvious, gimmicky products. Two Clydes and the giant teacakes, but also every chair used in the opening ceremony. Hockey balls, boxing gloves and deflated multi-coloured tents piled high on the ground. Huge 2D artworks of Glasgow sights - the Barrowlands and the People's Palace. One large cardboard box filled with refs' rugby substitution sheets neatly packaged into individual Harris tweed pockets to make them more sellable. So yes -flash mascots and shiny memorabilia, but more unexpected items, too. The nuts and bolts of the Games' undercarriage.

Making these things more attractive is what Brunel is particularly skilled in. "Part of the job is creating premium memorabilia," he explains. "Some things naturally have a handle to sell with" - he gestures to the teacakes, and the tartanified vehicle Barrowman and Dunbar rode on during the opening ceremony - "but others don't."

The proceeds from selling off the warehouse's contents will go towards funding the cost for hosting the Games. Particular items, including some of the outfits worn and signed by athletes, are here born out of a deal with charities including unicef which will receive the profits.

Yet out of this cornucopia of collectables, Brunel's ultimate and most favourite item is a seemingly mundane strip of running track taken from Hampden. He points to a roll of what looks like ubiquitous black flooring lying on the ground. "Because no-one wants it like this. So we polish it up and make it special."

Using images taken from online photographic libraries, Brunel and the team can work out exactly which athletes have raced on which strips of running track. The track is then meticulously sliced up and will be framed individually, with each piece bearing an image of the sporting champion who has stepped on it. For Innovative Sports is just as much about creative solutions -elevating what many would perceive as ordinary items to realms of the extraordinary - as it is about acting as the middle men between the Games' organising committee and those who wish to own a piece of history.

Its team consists of 30 individuals. Five, all management level, come from Vancouver, where the company is based, while the remaining staff live in the local area. And what they do - both as a group and as individuals - is quite astonishing in terms of output, such is the attention to detail that goes into numbering, labelling, 'hologramming' (adhering a holographic sticker to each item in order to authenticate it), listing online, and then packaging and processing each product.

"London 2012 took two years of planning," admits Brunel. "Glasgow less - around eight months. After London we listed 50,000 items, and this time it's been about 10% of that."

Some of the warehouse's stand-out items are gone, having been sold already. "Nessie went for £8000." Brunel says. I wonder who on earth would buy Nessie - and, perhaps more pertinently, where would they keep it? For a theme park, maybe?

"Not a theme park. It was bought by a private person and they want to put it somewhere public. But I don't know any more than that. We know very little about who exactly is buying these items but I can say that 95% of the orders are being shipped to the UK, and 90% of that figure is being shipped specifically to Scotland."

In the middle of the warehouse is a collection of large cardboard boxes. Each contains the medal podiums, stacked one on top of each other. They are hefty, skilfully crafted pieces of wood constructed by designer Paul Hodgkiss. They arrived in pristinely original condition, such is the care that they were handled with. But they won't leave that way.

"One podium is too big," Brunel says. "And it's too expensive. But a piece of the podium is fine."

He produces a perfectly scaled equivalent in the same distinctive oval with a chink taken out of one of its sides.

"Really," Brunel says, "it's like taking cattle and cutting it into steaks. No part of the cow goes unused."

He's not kidding. And, quite rightly, it is Hodgkiss again who is scaling his original podiums down to these miniature chunks. From them we will be able to buy these little bites of Glasgow 2014, in the form of the 'pieces', and also plaques, plus wood designed to hang on the wall.

"At the start we sat down for hours and combined our creative resources and processes with Hodgkiss's. Because, after all, it's all about maximising the overall result."

Keep up to date or bid on items from the Commonwealth Games by visiting https://auction.glasgow2014.com/

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