Profile: Lapel Pins – 1974 European Championships, Zagreb, Yugoslavia
Over the years, some debate has taken place among collectors over a certain aspect of the pins made to commemorate the 1974 European Figure Skating Championships, held in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, that year. An artistic and stylized representation of a figure skater, the central design element, is said to be the reflection of a skater on the ice while spinning. Although collectors seem to agree on this point, they disagree over which way the pin is meant to be worn—with the head of the skater facing downward or upward. Think about that for a moment. If the figure is a reflection, then naturally the head would face downward. It’s a reflection, not a shadow.
For that reason, The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins has never felt there is an issue about which way the pin is to be worn. One has only to look at the lettering, which is correctly displayed when the skater’s head is facing downward. In addition, the pinback is an easy indicator regarding orientation. It is theorized that the stickpin attachment may have been incorrectly applied to some pins during production, leading to the confusion. In addition, and perhaps further complicating the issue, Yugoslavia issued a postage stamp for the event with the skater’s head facing upward, but this was likely a stylistic or postal compliance choice for the particular use. Conversely, the 1974 European Championships program shows the skater with head facing downward.
On a silver-color base metal with a textured surface, the skater figure on the 1974 European Figure Skating Championships pin spins prominently at the center.
In their 1987 ground-breaking reference book Figure Skating Pins, Robert and Nancy Quinn show the Zagreb pin (on page 56) with the skater’s head facing upward, and with this statement: “The date on the 1974 Zagreb, Yugoslavia, pin is backwards as it reflects from the ice near a spinning skater. Turn the pin upside down against a mirror.” This interpretation and instruction was meant to settle the confusion but is not successful since it is flawed, in the opinion of The Curator. Turning the pin upside down against a mirror does not provide the viewer with any alternate understanding as to correct orientation of the pin, as the statement seems to imply. In fact, it only results in a reflection of the pin, which was incorrectly displayed in the first place.
So let’s put to rest all this confusion: the pin is correctly displayed with the head of the skater facing downward and the lettering in left-to-right reading position at the top right. You read it here, and The Netropolitan welcomes comments or differing opinions on this topic.
To conclude discussion about the confusion, let’s look at the two pins from the 1974 European Figure Skating Championships shown in today’s gallery. First up is the main logo pin. On a silver-color base metal with a textured surface, the skater figure spins prominently at the center. The hatch mark-style treatment used to create the shape of the skater is highly effective, clearly creating the impression of a spinning motion. In the top right corner are the event name, year, and location: “EP 1974, Zagreb” (where “EP” represents “Europsko Prvenstvo” or “European Championships” in Croatian). The design of the skater is unusual and unlike any seen in prior or subsequent European Championships pins. The pin measures approximately 1‑3/16″ x 1‑1/8″ (3 cm x 2.9 cm).
Next is a slightly smaller pin with a variation of the central figure skater done in a simpler and less detailed style. The event location and year are along the right: “Zagreb 74.” This treatment differs significantly from the main logo pin, with Zagreb instead stacked vertically and the year abbreviated below as 74. Note that the event name does not appear. On a bronze-color base alloy, the pin measures approximately 9/16″ x 13/16″ (1.4 cm x 2.1 cm).
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1974 European Figure Skating Championships Pins: Reflection On Ice. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pins Gallery: 1974 European Figure Skating Championships
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