Lord Coe's invitation to “own a piece of Olympic history” has turned sour after fans threatened to sue the company behind the auction of memorabilia from last year's Games, accusing it of failing to deliver the goods.
Olympic addicts were invited to snap up items ranging from the peasant outfits worn in the opening ceremony to the batons carried in relay finals and signed outfits worn by Bradley Wiggins and other British medal-winners.
Innovative Sports Ltd, the Canadian company running the memorabilia.london2012.com auction site, has admitted that it does not possess some of the exclusive items it sold to customers, who have complained that they have yet to receive their goods, months after purchasing.
Leeds lawyer Damian Kelly said: “I bought all the result sheets for Michael Phelps' historic swimming events in August. They still haven't arrived. I have spent £7,000 on outstanding items. I was told they could get Seb Coe to sign an Olympics book instead. With all due respect to Seb, it's no substitute.”
The company has strongly denied any allegations of fraud.
Jon Curleigh, a director at Innovative Sports, said: “We were overwhelmed by the success of the Games and caught off guard by the demand. Unfortunately some of the products didn't materialise in the way they should have.”
Mr Curleigh denied any suggestion of fraud because “there was no absolutely no intention to deceive”.