Tons more gargoyles will be arriving very soon, but in the meantime, I also want to start talking about another topic I am passionate about – figure skating and its history.
I have been figure skating since age five. I currently compete and also coach. Being both a skater and a historian, it is only natural that I should be interested in figure skating history. I have also heard lots of stories about the “good old days” from my coaches.
Recently, I have started collecting figure skating memorabilia. I go to a lot of antique shows, both on my own and for work, and I always shop around to see if anyone is selling skating items. Not all that many people are interested in figure skating memorabilia, but I can usually find one or two items at a show. My collection is very small right now, but I would like to introduce you to what I have so far.
First up: Two antique skating bronze medals. These two medals turned up inside an antique box at the auction house I worked at right after graduation. They didn’t interest anyone except me and didn’t seem valuable, so my bosses gave them to me.
The medals (the two are identical) are rectangular with arched tops and show a skating pair on the front. They have short, red-white-and-blue ribbons with bar pins and are marked “Dieges & Clust New York” on the back. According to Wikipedia, Dieges and Clust made some pretty important sports medals and awards between 1898 and 1980, including the 1904 Olympic medals, the Heisman Trophy, and numerous baseball awards.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieges_%26_Clust)
I haven’t figured out what competition these are from yet. At first I though they could be test medals because of the bar pins, but the older coaches at my rink said they have never seen anything like them before. I have a feeling they could be from a pairs or ice dancing event because of the couple on the front and because there were two identical medals in the same box. Maybe they belonged to a brother-sister or husband-wife team. I am going to send photographs to the Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado to see if they can help me.
Next time, I will show you an early 1900s skating book by Spalding.