An Italian First. 1951.

1951 World Championships at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins

Figure skating pins of the past often are unique and full of character. To be convinced, take a look at the pin that commemorates the 1951 World Figure Skating Championships as just one example. Never mind its impressive size, which only lends to the overall visual interest, but the design and production quality are outstanding. The 1951 event was held in Milan, Italy, and was the first World Championship hosted by the southern European country.

After more than 70 years, the main logo pin from the 1951 World Championships has developed a cool, handsome patina that enhances the dimensionality. See it in the gallery below. A colorful spiral of national flags, imitating a tracing of the blade on the ice, creates a strong focal point. A skate blade extends the spiraling motion as a secondary focal point. Measuring approximately 1-1/4″ x 1-7/8″ (3.2 cm x 4.8 cm) and on a silver-colored base metal, the year and event are marked simply, along the bottom: “1951 Campionati Mondiali.” The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins has also seen this pin on a gold-colored base metal.

After more than 70 years, the main logo pin from the 1951 World Championships has developed a cool, handsome patina that enhances the dimensionality.

There is some curiosity surrounding this pin with respect to the number of flags represented and the possible misuse of one flag. Official records for the championship show that skaters from 12 nations took part, yet 21 flags comprise the spiral. This difference could be explained in a couple of ways: 1) skaters from nine other countries may have been scheduled to compete but ultimately did not, or 2) the flags represent the member federations of the International Skating Union (ISU) at the time. And what of the possible misuse of a flag? At the very center of the spiral is a flag that is likely meant to represent Japan. However, from all information available, the flag appears to be a Japanese military flag and not the well-known “Hinomaru” flag that has been Japan’s national symbol since the 1870s. One can only conjecture, then, that the military flag was used in error. To help solve “flag gate,” The Curator of The Netropolitan asked the ISU and the Italian Ice Sports Federation for historical insight on the two topics. Unfortunately, neither organization responded to the inquiries. If anyone has definitive information to help solve flag gate, please contact The Netropolitan.

Also in the gallery are two participation medals, likely given only to event officials and competitors. The medals are identical in design, but one is on a silver-colored base metal and the other is gold. Like the logo pin, the same flag and skate blade spiral motif is used as the central design element. The year is tucked just above the skate blade on the left, and the event name wraps around the lower two-thirds circumference of the medal.

Enjoy An Italian First. 1951.

  • 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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