1989 World Figure Skating Championships Pin: Hidden Gems.

Profile: Lapel Pin – 1989 World Championships, Paris, France

By 1989, more than 30 years had passed since a world figure skating event had been staged in Paris, the City of Light. The 1958 World Figure Skating Championships held there were marked with a high-quality lapel pin that carried a snowflake and French flag motif. And although the pin made to commemorate the 1989 World Figure Skating Championships in Paris is not as high quality or as large as its predecessor—in fact, it is one of the smallest World Championships pins issued up to that time—it is nicely done and effectively represents the sophistication of the world event itself. Nothing less would be expected from the French.

The diminutive pin, in French blue, white, and red, is a classic oval shape with burnished, beveled edges in gold. At the center of the pin is a skate boot and blade in red, overlaid on a stylized longitude/latitude-style globe that is partially filled in blue on the left. A grid of segmented lines in white of varying thicknesses intersect the boot and globe, creating the sense of motion one sees in a figure skater. And if one looks closely, neatly hidden in the design is an outline of the most famous landmark in Paris (some say in the world), the Eiffel Tower. Also appearing to be yet another hidden element of Paris is a stylized outline of the 20 Paris arrondissements, which creates the blank spaces between the blade stanchions. All terribly clever.

If one looks closely, hidden in the design of the 1989 World Championships pin is an outline of the most famous landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower.

Packing a lot of information onto a small pin is difficult to do at best and poorly done at worst, as has been seen on many a figure skating pin over the years. But the 1989 Worlds pin succeeds in this regard, neatly and cleanly featuring the event name, location, and month/year combo along the circumference: “Championnats du Monde de Patinage Artistique Paris, Mars 89.” Making the lettering legible at that size surely must have been a production feat to be celebrated. Impossible n’est pas français! The pin measures approximately 7/8″ x 5/8″ (2.2 cm x 1.6 cm) and is on a silver-color base metal.

For even more from Paris, see the 1936 World Figure Skating Championships event pin, a study in 1930s design mixed with a bit of French flair.

Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1989 World Figure Skating Championships Pin: Hidden Gems. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.

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