Last Updated on June 17, 2023 by Netropolitan Museum
Profile: Lapel Pins – 1988 World Championships, Budapest, Hungary
A post-Olympic world championship in most any sport is usually a bit of a letdown. The same can be said of the main lapel pins produced to mark the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary. The splotchy coloration, unevenly filled letters, and pitted surface seen on the main logo pin do not reflect the high caliber competition the pins were made to commemorate. Fortunately, the event also featured other pins in different designs that were of better quality, helping to offset the failed logo pins. So, some hits and misses, which also could be said of the skating performances at that championship.
This interesting tidbit from the May 1988 issue of Skating magazine adds some color about the lapel pins: “Souvenir-seeking North Americans were disappointed by the small selection and limited supply of Worlds souvenirs available in Budapest. There was a pin, priced under a dollar, but only a certain number were allocated for sale each day.” This was an odd sales tactic but perhaps done to circumvent the early sellout of pins, as had been seen at several previous Worlds, notably 1982 Copenhagen, 1985 Tokyo, and 1986 Geneva. And the price of “under a dollar” explains much about the poor quality of the main pin.
A rather clunky pictogram-style figure skater, in black, adorns the main logo pin at the center and, indeed, adorns most other official materials and souvenirs from Budapest. Above the skater are the event name, location, and year: “World Figure Skating Championships Budapest 1988.” On almost every pin seen by The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins, the lettering exhibits a roughness and unevenness. Below the skater is a representation of the Hungarian flag. The pin, which measures approximately 5/8″ x 1‑1/2″ (1.6 cm x 3.8 cm), is on a gold-color base metal and is covered by an epoxy dome that is equally as clunky as the pictogram.
Next in the gallery is an officials’ pin, measuring approximately 5/8″ x 2‑3/4″ (1.6 cm x 7 cm), that likely was made in limited number and distributed accordingly. It combines the main logo pin with a colorful ribbon attached to the bottom to mimic the Hungarian flag. Although it is not now known to whom this pin was distributed, it likely was to volunteers or others with a planning or organizing role in the event. Two larger pins were also produced and given to selected officials and others at the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships. More about those later.
A rather clunky pictogram-style figure skater, in black, adorns the main logo pin made to commemorate the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships.
The third pin in the gallery is a completely different design and production style from the main logo pin. And of all the pins featured, it is the only high-quality one issued for the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships. The enamel-filled pin replicates one of six commemorative postage stamps issued by Magyar Posta (or “Hungarian Post,” the country’s postal administration). Shown on the pin is (presumably) a dance team with a faint resemblance to Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. The pin is done in blue and brown tones and is on a gold-color base metal. To the left of the pair, in the upper corner, are the logo and year, location, and event name: “1988 Budapest műkorcsolya világbajnokság” (or “1988 Budapest Figure Skating World Championship”) and below in the bottom corner is the value of the stamp: “6 Ft” (“Ft” meaning “forint,” the currency of Hungary). Along the right edge of the pin is “Magyar Posta” to indicate the issuing agency. The pin measures approximately 1‑1/2″ x 1‑1/16″ (3.8 cm x 2.9 cm).
The fourth and fifth pins in the gallery were produced for and given only to named officials serving at the event, and it is likely that other versions were made as well. These pins, like the stamp replica, are significantly different in design from the main logo pin and, in fact, do not carry any of the championship elements. Instead, along the left is a stylized skate blade and running along the top third of the pin is a grid of lines that extend to the ISU logo on the right. Over the grid is the wearer’s designation: “Referee” or “Judge.” Just below are the event name, location, and year: “World’s Budapest 1988.” Like some other World Championships pins, this pin uses the odd “World’s” (in possessive form), leaving the viewer to wonder, “What belongs to the World? World’s what?” It’s nonsensical. All lettering and art is done in a striking blue against the gold-color base metal of the pin, which measures approximately 3‑1/8″ x 1‑3/16″ (7.9 cm x 3 cm).
To round out items from the 1988 World Championships is a large, heavy participant medal that would have been given to competitors and selected officials at the event. Stamped from a gold-color base metal, the quality is excellent, with the relief and counter-relief working well with the slightly textured surface. The medal features the pictogram-style skater and includes the event name, year, location, and dates in a stacked, right-aligned fashion just below: “World Figure Skating Championships 1988 Budapest Hungary March 21-27.” This is the only piece of the items shown that includes the specific month and days of the event. The medal features gracefully rounded edges and measures approximately 2‑3/8″ x 4″ (6 cm x 10.2 cm). It is a fine souvenir of a less-than-stellar post-Olympic championship.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1988 World Figure Skating Championships Pin: Hits and Misses. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pins Gallery: 1988 World Figure Skating Championships
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