Profile: Lapel Pins – 1973 World Championships, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
The costume jewelry craze, which hit its zenith in the 1960s and 1970s, made its way into the pins issued for the 1973 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Not only were there standard logo pins that marked the event, but an unusual pin in different color combinations was created by the Czech costume jewelry maker Jablonex for its Bijoux de Boheme line. The company is still active today, and vintage pieces can readily be found for sale. Several of the Jablonex pins are shown in the gallery.
Let’s start with the logo and other commemorative pins made for the 1973 World Figure Skating Championships. The clever logo created for the event features a skate blade tracing a stylized compulsory figure that incorporates elements of both the bracket and the loop. But one can easily sense there is more meaning in the shape, and soon it’s clear that the tracing also forms a leaf from the linden tree, a national symbol of Czechoslovakia. This is an excellent example of a host nation quite effectively blending an important cultural symbol with elements of the event.
The main logo pin features the design prominently at the center on a striking blue background. Five concentric circles enclose and neatly unify the design. Beneath the epoxy dome, a silver-color background covers the pin, with the event name, year, and location at the bottom in black lettering: “MS 1973 Bratislava” (where “MS” stands for “Mistrovství Světa,” or “World Championships”). The pin measures approximately 1″ square (2.5 cm) and is on a silver-color base metal. It was acquired from the estate of Geoffrey Yates, a 1936 British Olympian who later went on to become a World and Olympic-level referee and judge and who presided at the men’s event in Bratislava.
The 1973 World Figure Skating Championships logo is an excellent example of a host nation quite effectively blending an important cultural symbol with elements of the event.
Also in the category of logo pins is a series of stickpins that carry the main logo design. Three of the pins do not include any event information while the fourth, an unusual triangle shape, includes “Bratislava 73.” Shown in the gallery are the round stickpins in blue, black, and red and the triangle version, also in red. Note that the leaf artwork is drawn slightly differently on the triangle-shaped pin, appearing a bit misshapen, perhaps to fit the available space. Each of the four pins is on a silver-color base metal; the round pins each measure approximately 11/16″ in diameter (1.7 cm), and the triangle-shaped pin measures approximately 1/2″ x 5/8″ (1.3 cm x 1.6 cm).
As a rule, The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins does not include sponsor pins in its historical review of and commentary on pins, other than those issued by the event on behalf of a sponsor. Such is the case with the sponsor pin from Motokov, a state-run manufacturer of various types of vehicles. This circular pin incorporates the same design elements as the logo pins but adds representation of the Czechoslovakian flag at the center on the left and right. A black background with artwork and lettering in gold creates striking contrast. The event name, year, and location are along the top portion, while the sponsor name “Motokov ČSSR” is along the bottom (“ČSSR” representing “Československá Socialistická Republika”). On a gold-color base metal, the sponsor pin measures approximately 1″ in diameter (2.5 cm).
Next up in the gallery is a small participant medal, likely produced in limited quantity and given only to competitors and selected officials of the event. It measures approximately 1‑3/8″ in diameter (3.5 cm) and is on a silver-color base metal. The medal carries the main logo design at the center on a green background and art elements in gold, covered with an epoxy dome. The concentric circles have been replaced with a sunburst-style effect around the perimeter. The reverse of the medal is stamped with the event name and year in counter-relief.
Showing last in the gallery, but certainly not least, are the costume jewelry pins. These are included in The Netropolitan’s historical review because of their uniqueness and direct tie-in to the host country. The 1973 World Figure Skating Championships may be the only world event commemorated with pins produced by a third-party jewelry firm. As unique as the Jablonex pins are, they are not among the finest pins ever designed or created. Far from it. The odd facial features of the skater, for example, are both unattractive and primitive in style. Why was this detail seemingly overlooked when other details on the pin are well done? It is a mystery.
Putting that criticism aside, the pin is well-produced and of nice quality. The skater glides forward effortlessly, free leg extended elegantly, and is dressed in appropriate winter garb: a cheerful cap with a pom-pom, a colorful neck scarf, and a warm sweater and coordinating pants. The pin was issued in several color combinations, and there could be additional combinations produced but not shown here. Along the bottom of the pin is a bar where the event location and year appear: “Bratislava 73.” The shiny gold-color base metal contrasts well against the colors seen in the clothing.
Note that the pin with the white neck scarf was acquired from Lynn Nightingale, four-time Canadian champion (1974–77) and Olympic competitor. The pin with the yellow neck scarf was acquired from the estate of Hugh Glynn, a former executive director (1965–74) of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA, or today called Skate Canada). Each of these pins measures approximately 1‑1/8″ x 1‑1/2″ (2.9 cm x 3.8 cm).
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1973 World Figure Skating Championships Pins: A Linden Leaf Emerges. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pins Gallery: 1973 World Figure Skating Championships
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