Profile: Lapel Pins – 1986 World Championships, Geneva, Switzerland
There is an old saying about the hospitality of the Swiss people. Although that may be true in general, there was no particular hospitality shown when it came to the subject of pins selling out at the 1986 World Figure Skating Championships in Geneva. On just the second day of the event, a time when the competitive events weren’t yet in full swing and neither had the full crowds for the championship yet arrived, the pins were gone. And to make things worse, the organizers were rather rude about the sell out, offering a blunt “no more pins.” So on that fateful day when attendees learned that no pins were available—and that no more would be produced—many cries of “foul” were heard inside the Centre Sportif des Vernets, site of the competition.
Astute collectors had learned their lesson about pins selling out at championships and purchased pins early in Geneva. Just a year prior in Tokyo, Japan, at the 1985 World Figure Skating Championships, the pins sold out early in the event. And before that, the 1982 World Figure Skating Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, had its own sell-out story. Unlike the Swiss, however, both the Japanese and Danish organizers arranged for more pins to be made available.
A graphic representation of Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau sits at the center of the 1986 World Figure Skating Championships pins.
Geneva is known for many things, one of which is the iconic Jet d’Eau, a magnificent fountain that sits in Lake Geneva and sprays nearly 460 feet into the air. A graphic representation of Jet d’Eau also sits at the center of the 1986 World Figure Skating Championships pins. Just to the right and emerging from behind the water spray is a portion of the cross seen on the Swiss flag. A skate blade appears just below, and in the background is an artful rendering of world continents. The dark blue background seems to mimic Lake Geneva itself, with all artwork in white to mimic the color of the mist from Jet d’Eau. Around the circumference of the pin are the event name (in both French and English), location, and year: Mondiaux World’s Geneve 1986.” Like some prior World Championships (those held in Canada, notably), the use of World’s as a possessive is peculiar. A possessive indicates ownership. Examples: Katarina’s skates or Brian’s gold medal or Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau. In this case, what belongs to World? World’s what? It’s nonsensical and wrong. Putting that aside, the pin is a fine souvenir of a memorable event and came individually packaged in a small paper envelope—a nice touch. On a silver-color base metal, the logo pin measures approximately 7/8″ in diameter (2.2 cm).
Also available at the event, but given away as a promotional item by the official pin maker for the event, Siegrist AG, was a larger pin made of white plastic. Besides the size and base material used, the background blue is the only difference, being much brighter than the logo pin. The second pin measures approximately 1‑1/4″ in diameter (3.2 cm) and is imprinted with the maker’s contact information on the reverse. These pins were handed out by representatives from Siegrist AG at their booth and were left in small boxes in a “help yourself” fashion when the booth was unattended. The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins took full advantage of the latter option and brought home quite a number of this pin. For those who missed out on securing the official event pin following the sell out, this was the next best—and only—option, but remember it is not the official pin from the event.
In the years immediately following the event, the logo pin was in high demand and commanded a premium trade or sale price. Now, nearly 37 years after the event and demand for it being near zero, the pin would command only a few dollars, if it sold at all.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1986 World Figure Skating Championships Pins: Swiss Hospitality? Not So Much. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pins Gallery: 1986 World Figure Skating Championships
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