Last Updated on October 31, 2020 by Netropolitan Museum
Back in 1939, during the golden age of Hollywood, films were the world’s entertainment. And 1939 was a breakout year with films that still top the list of the greatest or most memorable for many a fan: think classics like “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Gone With the Wind.”
Across the pond at the 1939 European Figure Skating Championships, held in London for ladies, the year was more status quo than breakout for anyone. Cecilia Colledge, the British lady-in-waiting to Sonja Henie in many mid-1930s events, won the third and final of her European Championship titles. Henie had moved on, now busy in Hollywood contributing to entertaining the world, although not starring in films of the same high caliber as those mentioned above (Henie’s films “Second Fiddle” and “Everything Happens at Night” were released that year).
The pin made to commemorate the 1939 European Championships has both creativity and style, much like a skater or a film does. The Netropolitan is fortunate to have in its collection a pin issued to a judge for the event. Shown in the gallery below, the octagonal-shaped pin with ribbon is a fine reminder of a golden age of figure skating. On a silver-color base metal with a rich black enamel fill, the pin measures 1-7/8″ x 3″ (4.7625 cm x 7.62 cm) overall. Neatly arranged on the pin are the host federation name, event name, and year: “N.S.A. of G.B., Ladies European Championship, 1939.” Everything a collector needs to know to identify and date the piece. Faintly visible on the still-vibrant blue ribbon is the word “Judge,” which appears to have been originally applied in gold foil or ink.
Neatly arranged on the pin are the host federation name, event name, and year: “N.S.A. of G.B., Ladies European Championship, 1939.” Everything a collector needs to know to identify and date the piece.
Interesting to note is that the event location does not appear on the pin and no illustration of the sport (such as a skate blade) is used. Without knowledge that “N.S.A. of G.B.” represents “National Skating Association of Great Britain,” the casual observer would not know this pin commemorates a major figure skating championship. It is likely that other versions of the pin were issued, using differently colored ribbons with identifiers, as was common during the time. Those might have included “Competitor,” “Official,” and “Press.”
In an ominous turn, in September 1939, the onset of World War II would suspend the European and World Figure Skating Championships for seven years, from 1940 through 1946.
Enjoy That’s Entertainment! 1939.
1939 European Championships Gallery
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