In 1924, for only the fourth time in its relatively short history, the World Figure Skating Championships were held in the United Kingdom. Manchester, the world’s first industrial city, saw men and pairs competitors assemble at the Manchester Ice Palace for two days of competition in late February. Ladies had already competed for their world title earlier in the month at a separate event in Oslo, Norway. Competitors in Manchester included icons Gillis Grafström and Willy Böckl who finished first and second, respectively—their same order of finish at the 1924 Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France, just a month earlier.
Although record books, along with news and photographic archives, can easily provide a wealth of information and images about figure skaters and the sport, little is known about pins (or other commemorative pieces, for that matter) from events that took place decades ago or, in the case of the 1924 World Championships, now nearly a century ago. Something known to The Curator of The Netropolitan is the existence of two different versions of a pin from the 1924 Manchester event. In the gallery below is an all-metal version in relief. The bronze-like finish shimmers, allowing the depth and texture of the surface to show through. In the shape of a shield with scrolls that adorn each side, the pin captures the essence of the era and suggests a heraldry that directly aligns with the the United Kingdom itself.
Although record books can easily provide a list of who won what and when in the world of figure skating, little is known about pins (or other commemorative pieces, for that matter) from events that took place decades ago…
At the top of the pin is a globe that represents the worldwide aspect of the competition, although only a handful of competitors—all of them from Europe—took part. Below the globe and stretching along the sides of the pin, enclosed within banners, is the event name: “World’s Championship Meet 1924.” As was common at the time, colloquialisms such as “Worlds” were substituted for the event’s more formal name, World Figure Skating Championships. Featured prominently at the center of the pin, inset into the “V” formed by the shield, are an old-fashioned skate blade and the host club name: “Manchester Skating Club.” Note the high, curled toe of the blade. The pin measures 1-3/16″ x 1-3/8″ (3.01625 cm x 3.4925 cm).
Figure Skating Pins, the definitive work on the sport’s pins from pre-World War I to late 20th century, pictures an alternate version of the 1924 Worlds pin. The design and size of that pin appear to be the same in every regard as the one shown in this gallery, but the alternate version is also filled with blue and white enamels: white in the center of the shield where the skate blade and club name appear and blue in the banners where the event name appears. The colors further enhance an already striking and creative design. The Curator of The Netropolitan believes the version shown in this gallery is a prototype or perhaps unfinished stock. It is a mystery. But it is mystery that forever motivates a collector.
Enjoy Two of a Kind. 1924.
1924 World Championships Gallery
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