In late January in Helsinki, Finland, the top skaters from around Europe gathered for the 1977 European Figure Skating Championships to determine the best on the continent in singles, pairs, and dance. Somewhat surprisingly, it was the first European Championship to be held in the nordic country, although neighboring Norway and Sweden had previously hosted the event. Nine of the 12 medals available in the four disciplines were won by competitors from what were, at the time, Communist-bloc countries. Only Dagmar Lurz (Federal Republic of Germany) and Susanna Driano (Italy) in the ladies event and Robin Cousins (Great Britain) in the mens event were able to break through the iron curtain.
To mark the occasion of the 1977 Europeans, a simple pin with an epoxy dome applied over a hot-stamped/printed design was issued. The epoxy dome process was gaining popularity in pin production at the time because of efficiency and low cost. Although the 1977 pin lacks the production value that a cloisonné pin would exhibit, for example, it represents a period in time and a certain character all its own. One must wonder, though, why the organizing committee for the event did not draw more inspiration for the pin from their own beautiful country.
A silver-colored base metal lies beneath the epoxy dome and design, which features an overall off-white background and stylized, crossed skate blades enclosed in a dark blue circle. At the time, this element was associated with the Finnish Figure Skating Association and was used as part of organization’s brand. Note the subtle heart shape that is created where the toe plates meet. Below the logo, also in dark blue and in a font that perfectly complements the design, is the event name, year, and location: “European Figure Skating Championships 1977 Helsinki Finland.” As is often seen on pins made for European Championships, English is used, rather than the language of the host country.
Note the subtle heart shape that is created where the toe plates meet.
Of note is a production flaw typically seen in the 1977 Europeans pin: small bubbles, usually no more than the size of a standard pinhead, within the epoxy covering. It also is common for the off-white background area of the design to have heavily yellowed over the years, particularly around the pin edges. In nearly 40 years of collecting, The Curator of The Netropolitan has rarely seen the pin without at least a few bubbles and almost always exhibiting yellowing. The pin measures 15/16″ x 1-7/16″ (2.38125 cm x 3.65125 cm).
Read The Netropolitan blog about the pin issued for the 1983 World Figure Skating Championships, also held in the Finnish capital.
Enjoy Finland, Finland, Finland! II. 1977. Also, enjoy this 2005 performance of the Fisch Schlapping Song from Monty’s Python’s Spamalot. You can learn so much about Finland.
1977 European Championships Gallery
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