Craftsmanship On Display. 1938.

Dateline: Berlin, Germany, 1938, just less than a year and half before the onset of World War II. By all accounts, it was a dark and oppressive time, with the rise to power of those who sought, through any means, to control or silence all who disagreed with their singular political and cultural agendas and to force compliance. During the 1938 World Figure Skating Championships (held in Berlin for men and pairs),1 the mood was likely somber, yet the championships went on.

It is quite the contrast, then, that pins issued for the 1938 World Championships are so colorful and beautiful. Part of the reason for this is simply the era—a time when pins and commemorative items were finely crafted rather than mass produced in mind-numbing regularity, as they are today. The artfully handmade silk rosettes that are hand-attached to the metal pins speak loudly to this bygone craftsmanship. The pins are as lovely today as they must have been more than 80 years ago when they would have been proudly worn by competitors, officials, members of the press, and others.

In the gallery are three pins from the 1938 event, each featuring a detailed metal and enamel pin that rests atop a specially colored rosette. The gold-color base metal of the pin contrasts well with the overall color palette. At the center of the pin is a black bear, an icon well-associated with the city of Berlin and its skating club, and a skate blade in white layered over it. Around the top outer circumference of the pin is the special designation: “Teilnehmer” for Competitor, “Preisrichter” for Judge, and “Presse” for Press. The lower circumference on each pin reads “D.R.L. Fachamt Eissport,” representing the German association for sports and the specialty of ice sports. On the inner circumference, in gold lettering against a rich red, is the event name and year: “Eiskunstlauf-Weltmeisterschaften, Berlin 1938.” Each pin, including the rosette, measures approximately 1-3/4″ in diameter (4.4 cm).

The pins are as lovely today as they must have been more than 80 years ago when they would have been proudly worn by competitors, officials, members of the press, and others.

Also shown in the gallery is a participant medal that displays, as the central design element, the much-despised symbol of the then-in-power German regime. The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins exhibits this item because of its historical connection to the 1938 World Championships but does not celebrate the symbol or what it represents. Above the symbol on the medal is the event name: “Eiskunstlauf-Weltmeisterschaften” and below is the location, year, and German association designation: “Berlin 1938, D.R.L. Fachamt Eissport.” The medal measures approximately 3″ x 4″ (8 cm x 10 cm) and was acquired from the estate of Ernst Baier, who won the 1938 championships with partner (and later wife) Maxi Herber. Baier and Herber were 1936 Olympic Champions, four-time World Champions, and five time European Champions. Baier was also 1936 Olympic silver medalist in mens singles and many-times World Championship and European Championship medalist.

Enjoy Craftsmanship On Display. 1938.

1 The 1938 World Championships for ladies was held in Stockholm, Sweden.


1938 World Championships Gallery

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  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.
  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.
  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.

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