Profile: Lapel Pins – 1965 European Championships, Moscow, USSR
Fifty-four years had elapsed since a European Figure Skating Championship had been contested on Russian soil, the first taking place in 1911 in St. Petersburg long before the USSR came into being. So when the 1965 European Figure Skating Championships came to the Soviet capital of Moscow, enthusiastic crowds welcomed the skaters to the Palace of Sports, with the event commemorated, quite strangely, by two different series of lapel pins. Strange, yes. But not unusual. For events held in the USSR, it seems creating different versions of pins was somewhat of a recreational pastime. (For more on that topic, see the 1970 European Figure Skating Championships blog.)
First up in the gallery is a series of four small, tastefully designed pins that likely were produced in limited quantity for a now unknown but special purpose. Most knowledgable collectors agree that the white and black version is considered to be the main logo pin in this series, as it is the one seen more often over the years. This version is also featured in the 1987 book Figure Skating Pins by Robert and Nancy Quinn. The other color combinations were likely given sparingly and are rarely seen. At the center of the pin on a white enamel background is a structured and formal figure skater atop a stylized skate blade that features an exaggerated curled toe. The rigidly posed and obedient figure mirrors the 1960s social and political climate of Russia, which may have been intentional in the design. Interestingly, only the event name is shown on the pin, split top and bottom: “ЧЕМПИОНАТ ЕВРОПЫ” (or, “European Championship”). On a gold-color base metal, each pin measures approximately 1/2″ x 13/16″ (1.3 cm x 2 cm). The other color combinations are: dark blue and green; light blue and red; and dark red and green. As always, if anyone has information regarding the meaning behind the different colors, contact The Netropolitan.
When the 1965 European Figure Skating Championships came to Moscow, enthusiastic crowds welcomed the skaters to the Palace of Sports, with the event commemorated by two different series of lapel pins.
Moving on to the second series of pins, the design takes a complete about-face. In the opinion of The Curator, these pins more likely would have been those seen worn on coats, scarves, and hats at the event. In this series, the main logo pin is made of the lightweight silver-color alloy typically seen on Russian pins. A snowflake in white and a skate blade and tracings in blue combine to create the main visual elements, while all lettering is in red. At the center of the snowflake is the year: “1965.” The event name and location are split between top and bottom, with “ПЕРВЕНСТВО ЕВРОПЫ” (or, “European Championship”) at the top and “МОСКВА” (“Moscow”) in the lower right corner. The toe pick of the blade extends beyond the lower left corner, creating an irregular shape that adds visual interest. The pin measures approximately 7/8″ x 1‑3/16″ (2.2 cm x 3 cm).
Following in the gallery are four significantly larger and special-issue pins, three of them with ribbons that denote the wearer’s role in the event. All feature the same design as the main logo pin in this series but with artwork and lettering in relief. First up of the larger pins is one made of a silver-color metal with a textured surface that contrasts well with the raised, polished elements. This pin may have been made for administrative officials connected with the event, such as organizing committee members. It measures approximately 1‑5/8″ x 2‑3/8″ (4.1 cm x 6 cm).
The next three pins are those with special, differently colored ribbons attached from the back. Imprinted with white, off-white, or black lettering, the grosgrain ribbons feature a fringed bottom edge that adds significant visual appeal and a sense of quaintness to the pins; the ribbons have a homemade feel to them. The blue ribbon used for the ISU version is particularly striking and contrasts well against the gold. All of these pins would have been made in highly limited number:
- “ИСУ” (“ISU”)
- “УЧАСТНИК” (“Participant”)
- “ПРЕССА” (“Press”)
Each pin measures approximately 1‑5/8″ x 6″ (4.1 cm x 15.2 cm), give or take an eighth inch since the ribbons vary slightly in length according to the imprint.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1965 European Figure Skating Championships Pins: Strange But Not Unusual. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pins Gallery: 1965 European Figure Skating Championships
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