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    One of the rarest Olympic artifacts in the hobby!

    1952 Oslo Winter Olympics Torch. It's the first example we've ever seen in the flesh, much less had the good fortune to offer, but the intense scarcity is no surprise. Only ninety-five (95) of these sleek and gorgeous torches were manufactured for the transportation of the Olympic flame to Oslo's Bislett Stadion to signal the start of the sixth Winter Games. The Oslo Games would be the first in Winter Olympics history to utilize a torch relay, though the flame was ignited not at the Olympia, Greece ancestral home of the Olympics, but rather at Morgedal, Norway, widely considered to be the birthplace of competitive skiing.

    The Oslo promoters took care to stress that the relay was not meant as the traditional transfer of the Olympic flame, but rather a nod to the Norwegian tradition of skiing in the dark by torch light. Ninety-four (94) skiers participated in the relay, which began at the Morgedal home of Sondre Norheim, a pioneer of competitive skiing who famously skied to Oslo in 1868 to participate in a race. Olav Bjaaland, the grandfather of the man who proposed the relay and a member of the 1911 South Pole expedition, lit the flame in the hearth of Norheim's home and then handed the torch off to the first relay skier to set off on the route Norheim was believed to have taken to Oslo. Olympic scholars widely consider Norheim's long journey to be the Norwegian equivalent to Greek messenger Pheidippides' twenty-six mile run from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.

    Somewhere along that 200 kilometer route the presented torch was carried by Oscar Gjøslien, a decorated Norwegian cross country skier who had won the fifty kilometer event at the Holmenkollen Ski Festival of 1935. For the sixty-two years that followed, the torch remained in Norway until it was consigned to this Platinum Night auction by its Norwegian owner.

    The elegantly understated look speaks to Scandinavian design sensibilities, a lightly curved collar atop a simple cylindrical handle stamped, "Adolf Thoresen Oslo" on the base. The collar is boldly engraved with the Olympic rings, the year "1952" and the starting and ending points of the relay, Morgedal and Oslo, with an arrow drawn between the two. The torch stands nine inches (9") in height and twelve and a half inches (12.5") across the width of the collar. The torch is crafted in polished stainless steel and presents in near-perfect condition with only a few light scratches on the collar apparent upon close inspection.

    Recent torch sales have indicated the soaring trajectory of this challenging collecting subgenre, with $400,000 paid in a 2011 auction for a 1952 Helsinki torch and $412,500 in 2014 for a 1956 Stockholm model. We are aware of only one sale of an Oslo torch over the past two decades, a model that commanded $95,000 for ownership. There is every reason to believe it will be many years before the next opportunity arises.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,706

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Feb 21, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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