Profile: Lapel Pin – 1964 US Figure Skating Championships, Cleveland, Ohio
The pin from the 1964 US Figure Skating Championships, held in Cleveland, Ohio, is considered by seasoned collectors to be the “holy grail” of figure skating pins, although it rightly can be argued that the pin from the 1958 US Figure Skating Championships is every bit as desirable since it is the first known pin to commemorate a Nationals. Putting aside that bit of history, the 1964 pin is a wonderful reminder of days past, when the local host skating club had much more “presence” on things like event souvenirs and memorabilia. In fact, not only is the Cleveland Skating Club name called out on the pin, but the main center design is the crossed blades and tennis racquet logo of the club itself—creating, essentially, a variation of the club pin. The 1965 US Figure Skating Championships pin is another example of how the host club cemented its position in history on a souvenir.
In the December 1963 issue of Skating magazine, a Nationals preview article noted that “…the [Cleveland Skating] Club has had specially designed for this competition a patch and a pin commemorating the 1964 Nationals … [that] will be on sale during the week of the competition.” This was an unusual move during the era, since no pin had been made for any other Nationals in the prior five years. On a rare occasion, the patch from the 1964 event comes up for sale online, but The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins has not yet seen the pin offered at auction, online or otherwise.
The small, round pin is charming in its simplicity, capturing a less complex time in the sport’s history, when friends and friendly rivals met for a few days of good and spirited competition.
The small, round pin is charming in its simplicity, capturing, as eluded to earlier, a less complex time in the sport’s history, when friends and friendly rivals met for a few days of good and spirited competition. The blue enamel that fills the majority of the pin is striking against the silver-color base metal. Around the outer circumference are the event name and year: “U.S.F.S.A. National Championships 1964.” On very early pins, it was common for the formal name of the annual event—United States Figure Skating Championships—to be abbreviated or styled colloquially, as is the case here. Other variations seen over the years include Nationals, Nat’l. Championships, United States Nationals, and U.S. Nationals. Around the inner circumference of the pin is the host club name: “Cleveland Skating Club.” The crossed skate blades and tennis racquet logo stands out in relief from a slightly textured background.
A short history lesson: Until the late 1980s, many collectors believed that 1964 Cleveland was the first US Figure Skating Championships to have been commemorated with a pin. That misinformation was cleared up in 1988 by a former director of the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame, who noted that 1958 was, in fact, the first year for a US Championships pin.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1964 US Figure Skating Championships Pin: Find Your Grail. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
Pin Gallery: 1964 US Figure Skating Championships
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