Compass and Creativity. 1938.

Last Updated on December 21, 2020 by Netropolitan Museum

In 1938, in the tiny town of Troppau, Czechoslovakia (today known as Opava, Czech Republic), pairs skaters competed for the title of European champion. Their compatriots in singles competed for their titles in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, in a separately held championship, which was common during the era. The record books show six pairs entries in the Troppau event, won by Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier of Germany (the fourth of their five European crowns).

The pin made to commemorate the 1938 European Figure Skating Championships for pairs is an unusual stamped metal design that features a colorful fabric ribbon adorned with a metal embellishment at the tip. Not only does the pin mark the occasion of the European Championships, but it also celebrates the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Troppau Eislauf Verein (TEV).

An eight-point compass serves as the central design element of the pin. At the center, in highly stylized letters, is the club monogram, “TEV.” Note that the letter “V” is formed by the crossed skate blades. Behind the monogram is a building facade, presumably that of a well-known landmark in the region. Resting atop “TEV” is “70 Jahre” (“70 Years”) while small banners frame the years “1868” and “1938” on each side of the compass. Laurel leaves spring from below the banners. Around the circumference of the compass is the event name and location: “Europameisterschaft, Troppau.” The pin measures 1-9/16″ x 3-1/8″ (approx. 4 cm x 8 cm).

The 1938 Troppau pin is yet another example of the fine craftsmanship and creativity that was put into creating a lasting keepsake of an important event.

The 1938 Troppau pin is another example of the fine craftsmanship and creativity that was put into creating a lasting keepsake. The organizers of today’s figure skating events—typically commemorated with inexpensive, epoxy-domed pins that show neither craftsmanship nor creativity, let alone quality—could learn much from the past.

Like other pins and medals featured in galleries at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins, the 1938 European Figure Skating Championships pin is from the estate of Walter and Ludowika (née Eilers) Jakobsson, Olympic champions in 1920, Olympic silver medalists in 1924, and three times World Champions (1911, 1914, and 1923). The pin featured in this gallery was given to Walter Jakobsson in his capacity as a judge at the event. Other pieces having belonged to the Jakobssons are detailed in these blog posts: 1910 World Championships, 1912 World Championships, 1928 European Championships, 1932 World Championships, and 1952 European Championships.

Enjoy Compass and Creativity. 1938.

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