Beauty and the Beast(s). 1968.

1968 European Championships at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins

In its impressive 1,000-plus-year history, the city of Västerås, Sweden, has hosted a single major ISU event: the 1968 European Figure Skating Championships, the subject of today’s blog. And although Västerås has not been a hotbed for championship figure skating, the 1968 European Championships were commemorated with one of the most delightful figure skating pins ever issued. See the gallery below for the logo pin and more.

Contrast the charming and diminutive logo pin with the gargantuan pins issued for participants, officials, and others at the 1968 European Championships, and one can easily see a beauty and the beast(s) parallel. Although these massive pins with dangling skate blades are impressive, they are comically oversized. This decidedly is one time that bigger was not better, and, at least to the knowledge of The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins, these are the largest pins ever issued for a major event. The participant medal also is large, but medals of this kind typically are displayed flat so the size is more appropriate and less threatening.

Contrast the charming and diminutive logo pin with the gargantuan pins issued for participants, officials, and others at the 1968 European Championships and one can easily see a beauty and the beast(s) parallel.

The logo pin is done in a rich blue color on a gold-color base metal, and, as one can see, the simplicity and size of the pin create a winning combination. The design represents a portion of the compulsory figure known as the loop, with the Three Crowns of Sweden worked into the design: one crown enclosed in the smaller inner loop while the other two sit prominently and regally atop the pin. The design is really marvelous. In the center are the event name, year, and location: “EM” (for “Europamästerskapen”), “68,” and “Sweden.” Note that the host city name and dates of the event are not included, elements sometimes seen on figure skating pins. The pin measures approximately 3/4″ x 3/4″ (1.9 cm x 1.9 cm).

The larger pins mimic the logo pin in design and arrangement of elements but are produced in relief on a shiny gold-color base metal with a pebbly texture at the center replacing the blue seen in the logo pin. And although the larger pins are striking for their size in the most unappealing way, they are similarly striking for their quality of craftsmanship. These pins are heavy and nicely produced, originally presented in a custom box. In the gallery are three examples: “Aktiv” (Participant) with a white skate blade and two marked “EM” that feature blue and yellow skate blades, respectively. These were likely made for and given only to officials who served in different roles at the 1968 European Championships. The pins all measure approximately 2-3/8″ x 3-1/4″ (6 cm x 8.3 cm).

Like the logo and the larger pins, the participant medal features the same design and arrangement of elements, but it more closely matches the logo pin in style. The shiny gold-color base metal highlights a brighter blue used than that of the logo pin. And also like the larger pins, the medal would have been made in limited number. It measures approximately 2-3/8″ x 2-1/2″ (6 cm x 6.4 cm).

Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: Beauty and the Beast(s). 1968.

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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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