Figure Skating Pins Profile: 1958 European Championships
“Behind the Iron Curtain,” where one dared never to go, was Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, site of the 1958 European Figure Skating Championships and where a large contingent of the continent’s best figure skaters joined for strong competition in late January and early February. Like many other European Championships (and World Championships, of course), the 1958 event was commemorated with numerous figure skating pins.
When used as a main logo or branding element for an event, the compulsory figure called the loop may have made its debut in 1958 in Bratislava. To the knowledge of The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins, the 1958 Europeans is the earliest known use of the loop as a design element, at least for a major event (major event for this discussion being either the European Championships or the World Championships). The pins issued for the event prominently feature a stylized letter “E” to represent the tracing, with a trailing skate blade that has seemingly scribed the figure on the ice. The “E” also represents “Europe” or, in the local language, “Európy.”
The compulsory figure called the loop, when used as a main logo or branding element for an event, may have made its debut in 1958 in Bratislava.
In the gallery is a series of pins from the Bratislava event, from the main logo pins that likely were available to anyone who attended the championship to special-issue pins produced for and given only to individuals who served a particular role at the event. A participant medal also is shown.
Up first are the two logo pins, one a small circular stickpin and the other a larger rectangular pin. On the stickpin, the “E” logo appears in the center on a medium green background, an unusual color but an effective one against the bright gold-color base metal. In inverted relief around the circumference of the pin are the event name, location, and year: “Majstrovstvá Európy, Bratislava, 1958.” The pin measures approximately 9/16″ in diameter (1.4 cm). Next is the larger main logo pin, measuring approximately 1″ x 1-7/16″ (2.5 cm x 3.6 cm), also on a gold-color base metal but with a darker green fill than seen on any of the other pins. It is made from a thin metal, with the design appearing to be stamped into the surface. The “E” logo again takes center stage but is juxtaposed with a representation of the coat of arms of Bratislava in red in the upper left corner. The outer portion of the pin creates a border that is wider at top and bottom (although not proportionally) than side to side, where the event name, location, and date/year appear: “Majstrovstvá Európy v Krasokorčuľovani” at the top and “Bratislava, 30.I-2.II.1958” at the bottom. Note the use of Roman numerals to represent the months, an unusual style not typically seen in figure skating pins.
Next in the gallery are the special-issue pins, likely made in highly limited number, that carry the same design and configuration as the larger logo pin but are of a much higher production quality. These pins are all on a gold-color base metal with green enamel fill at the center, and all measure the same in size as the main logo pin. The Competitor pin shown is from the estate of Margaret Göbl, three-time West German champion, three-time European Championships medalist, and World Championships bronze medalist with partner (and later husband) Franz Ningel.
- “ISU” (ISU Delegate)
- “Pretekár” (Competitor)
- “Funkcionár” (Official)
- “Doprovod” (Chaperone or Assistant)
- “Novinar” (Journalist or Press)
Finally, shown in the gallery is a participant medal, also likely made in highly limited number and given only to competitors and selected officials. The design and configuration is similar to the main logo and special-issue pins but not identical: the “E” logo is instead done in a multi-color stripe pattern of red, white, blue, black, yellow, and green, and the position of the event name, location, and date/year are swapped top to bottom. The medal, which measures approximately 2‑3/8″ x 3‑5/16″ (6 cm x 8.4 cm), is struck from a heavy, gold-color base metal and has a semi-smooth surface. It is impressive in size and weight and must have been a welcome gift for all who received it.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: The Bratislava Loop. 1958.
Figure Skating Pins Gallery: 1958 European Championships
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