A Triple Header. 1936.

Held in Berlin just weeks prior to the 1936 Olympic Winter Games, the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships served as a “warm-up” for the Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, some 400+ miles to the south in Bavaria. The record books show that the gold medalists from the European Championships not only repeated their placements at the Winter Games but again mined gold at the 1936 World Figure Skating Championships held in Paris less than two weeks later. It was a whirlwind 30-day period for the sport’s three major competitions—a triple header on ice.

The Berlin event was commemorated with at least two different pins. Curiously, the designs are so divergent from one another that one can easily question whether they even represent the same event—yet it’s clear they do. In the gallery below are three pins issued those 80+ years ago in Berlin on the occasion of the European Championships.

The Berlin event was commemorated with at least two different pins. Curiously, the designs are so divergent from one another that one can easily question whether they even represent the same event.

Made of a silver-color base metal with blue enamel fill in the lettering and artwork, the first pin measures 1-3/16″ in diameter (approx. 3 cm). With a slightly convex shape, the pin is beautiful in its simplicity and can be thought of as the “main” version. At the center, a skate blade stands above the event location, “Berlin”; and around the circumference, in German, are the event name and year: “Europameisterschaften im Eiskunstlaufen, 1936.”

The second pin, likely presented to a competitor, features the main pin securely attached to a green silk rosette, a distinguishing method that was common in the era. The fabric is nearly as vibrant in color today as it must have been all those decades ago when the pin would have been proudly displayed upon a coat lapel or hat. The pin measures 1-7/8″ in diameter (4.7625 cm).

The third pin takes an entirely different design approach, with a bronze-color medal suspended from a red and white silk bow. Overall, the pin measures 1-3/4″ x 2-1/2″ (4.445 cm x 6.35 cm). At the center of the medal is a black bear, commonly associated with the city of Berlin (and appearing on its coat of arms), and superimposed is a skate blade. Around the circumference is the event name and year: “Europameisterschaften im Eiskunstlaufen, 1936″—the same wording and arrangement as seen on the main pin. Yet aside from the skate blade, which is similar to the one used on the main pin, there is no other common element. One can conjecture that this pin was issued to event officials (such as judges) by the host club, Berliner Sportpalast, since the bear and skate blade motif is affiliated with that club and was even used on the club pin of the era.

All pins shown in the gallery would have been produced in a highly limited number.

Enjoy A Triple Header. 1936.


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