Last Updated on July 31, 2021 by Netropolitan Museum
1939 World Championships at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins
The 1939 World Figure Skating Championships for ladies was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in mid-February of that year. It would be the last World Championship to be contested in any discipline until 1947, following a seven-year break caused by World War II. A little more than a month after the 1939 World Championships, Germany would invade Czechoslovakia in the final steps to that war.
In Prague, skaters from seven nations competed for the title of the best lady skater in the world, which was ultimately won by Megan Taylor of the United Kingdom. One can only imagine how the excitement of the event held to name the world’s best contrasted with the dark period in world history that was about to begin. Change was likely in the air on those winter days now more than 80 years ago.
The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins has pulled from its collection a participant medal issued for the 1939 event. This piece would have been produced in limited quantity and given to competitors and event officials. The bronze-colored medal exhibits a striation that appears to be intentional and not the result of manufacturing defect or aging. A warm patina covers the medal, yet the light still catches and highlights the areas in relief. The central female figure skater appears to be caught mid-spin, with skirt floating above the waistline. The skating attire and boots that rise mid-calf easily date the piece to the 1930s.
This piece would have been produced in limited quantity and given to competitors and event officials at the 1939 World Figure Skating Championships.
Along the top of the medal is the event name, in Czech: “Mistrovství Světa v Krasobruslení Dam.” On the left below the wording is a small skyline of the city of Prague, and staggered to the right and left of the skater are the year and location: “1939” and “Praha.” As is sometimes seen on older pins and medals, the event name is also given in a second language, this time in French: “Championnat du Monde de Patinage des Figures Pour Dames.” A small maker’s mark appears above the French inscription.
Measuring approximately 1-3/4″ x 2-5/8″ (4.4 cm x 6.7cm), the medal is a fine memento of a World Championship held at the crossroads of world history.
Enjoy The Ladies of Prague. 1939.
1939 World Figure Skating Championships Pin Gallery
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