A rare relay torch used for the equestrian games for the Olympics in 1956 in Stockholm is expected to fetch $US175,000 at auction.
Fewer than 10 torches are known to exist, making it one of the rarest of all Olympic torch relays.
It is among items being auctioned by sporting and Olympic memorabilia specialist Ingrid O’Neil, in California. The auction is by email, fax, phone and mail.
The torch shows darkening by the flame beneath the bowl and on the inside of the bowl.
“Our research so far revealed that only five torches were used in the torch relay in Sweden,” the auction house said. “Two of these torches reside in the Olympic Stadium Museum in Stockholm. Another torch was used in the torch relay in Copenhagen, Denmark.”
When Melbourne was awarded the 1956 Olympic Games at the 43rd IOC Session in Rome in 1949, the strict six-month quarantine rules regarding the entry of horses into Australia was not considered. At the 50th IOC Session in Athens 1954, Stockholm was chosen – against Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and Los Angeles – to hold the 1956 Equestrian Olympic Games.
The fire for the Olympia-Stockholm torch relay was lit on June 2 in Olympia, Greece, and carried by runners with the Helsinki 1952 torch over 325 km to Athens. A hurricane lamp was lit by a representative of SAS Airlines, and a few hours later it landed at Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport. Riders carried the torch into the city where it was kept overnight in the Town Hall.
The following day the flame was flown to Malmö in the south of Sweden. From there 150 riders took the flame in five days and nights to Stockholm.
On the opening day on J une 10, 1956, Hans Wikne rode with the flaming torch into the stadium where he lit the cauldron. Two gold medal winners, Karen Lindgren (Gymnastics, Helsinki 1952) and Henry Eriksson (1500 Meters, London 1948) ran with their lit torches to the two stadium towers of the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games.
According to eyewitness and IOC member Wolf Lyberg, no flame was lit on the opening day on the towers, only on and off during the duration of the Games.
Other items include
- a silvered FEI Secretary General Badge with a purple ribbon from 1936, expected to fetch $2000 (lot 46);
- a bronze participation medal from 1956, showing an ancient Greek horseman over the Olympic rings, the official emblem of the equestrian Olympic Games, expected to fetch $6500 (lot 338).
- a goldplated Swedish Official’s Badge with green enamel, featuring the 1956 equestrian logo with rings (estimate: $650; lot 339)
- a silver commemorative equestrian XVIII Olympiad Medal, with the logo over the Olympic rings and “Tokyo 1964”, in a leatherette case with Olympic rings on top (estimate: $125; lot 408)
- a painted wooden moving toy horse with rider, 17.2×23.5cm, with equestrian pictogram and Mexico 68 logo on the handle (estimate: $125; lot 433)
- equestrian helper’ s bibs with the Munich 1972 equestrian pictogram, white linen with light green. A soccer helper’s bib is also included in the lot (estimate $150; lot 471)