1990 Canadian Figure Skating Championships Pins: The Big Nickel.

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Netropolitan Museum

Profile: Lapel Pins – 1990 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, Sudbury, Canada

The world’s largest depiction of a coin, called the Big Nickel, can be found in Sudbury, Ontario, on the grounds of Dynamic Earth, an interactive science museum. The 30-foot, 12-sided shape is recreated on a smaller scale on the lapel pins that commemorated the 1990 Canadian Figure Skating Championships held in Sudbury in early February of that year. Incorporating the shape was a smooth way to feature a local landmark in a tip-of-the-hat way.

Combined with the Big Nickel on the cut-out style main logo pin is the then-current logo of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA, or now called Skate Canada). The maple leaf and blade logo, on an angle at the right, contains the event year and name running vertically: “1990 Canadians.” And as is often done, in place of the third “a” in the word Canadians is another maple leaf, but this instance goes even further by blending the maple leaf into the “i” and “n” in Canadians. This was an opportunity for the individual who conceived the pin to step back and ask how the design might be simplified or made better, an opportunity that was not taken. (Answer: Removing the maple leaf from the word Canadians.) Inside the Big Nickel shape at the left is the letter “S” layered over a skate blade to represent Sudbury, along with “Sudbury Region” to identify the host area.

To mark an oncoming change in figure skating … on the 1990 Canadians pin is the first use of a sponsor logo for that national event.

A change in figure skating was coming, with Canada—rightly or wrongly—leading the way. The sport would soon see events prominently feature a sponsor name, or for the event to be known by the sponsor’s name. To wit: In the lower right corner of the 1990 Canadians pin is the Royal Bank logo—the first known use of a sponsor’s logo on a pin for the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. So the Rubicon had been crossed, as it already had been for Skate Canada two years earlier, and more events featuring sponsor names would soon follow. In red and blue on a gold-color base metal, the pin measures approximately 1‑1/8″ x 1″ (2.8 cm x 2.5 cm). By contrast, it was not until 1994 that the U.S. Figure Skating Championships carried a sponsor name (L’eggs).

The Curator of The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins has also seen an additional version of the main logo pin that does not feature the Royal Bank logo, but with all other design aspects being the same. That pin, according to sources, was produced by Royal Bank and given away as a promotional interest item, rather than being sold. It is somewhat odd that the Royal Bank logo was not used on the promotional pin given by the bank itself.

Following the tradition of previous national events, the 1990 Canadian Figure Skating Championships were also marked with at least one larger version of the pin. Shown in the gallery is the one produced for and given only to competitors; this pin, of course, would have been made in limited quantity, perhaps fewer than 300. Displayed along the bottom of the pin, an additional decorative area in gold was added, along with a rectangular area that contains the designation. Measuring approximately 1‑1/2″ x 1‑1/2″ (3.8 cm x 3.8 cm), the pin is also on a gold-color base metal.

Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1990 Canadian Figure Skating Championships Pins: The Big Nickel. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.

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