Lot #4010
Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics Torch

The elusive torch of the XI Olympic Winter Games

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Estimate: $15000+
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The elusive torch of the XI Olympic Winter Games

Official 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics torch, consisting of a cast-blackened aluminum alloy bowl and a stainless steel combustion tube, measuring and overall 25.5″ in length and 4.75″ at its widest point, manufactured by Nippon Koki. The torch’s designer, Sori Yanagi, was a pioneer of Japanese industrial design, whose simplistic and pure use of lines and curves were regarded as patently Japanese as they were universal. Inspired by the shape of the Olympic cauldron, this classic torch features a slender black bowl, with the handle impressed with the Sapporo Games logo, and the bottom engraved "Nikkei" and "Yanagi"; lower portion of the tube also bears the Sapporo Games logo, with the manufacturer's stamp below, "GD Nippon Koki Co., Ltd." Both the black bowl and tube exhibit wear from use, with various nicks and scratches handle, the upper portion of the tube charred and blackened, and significant rubbing to the logo at the base of the tube.

The torch was filled with priming and smoke-producing powder designed to burn for ten minutes for torches carried by runners and for fourteen minutes for those transported in cars. The Olympic flame was lit on December 28, 1971, in Olympia, Greece, and flown to Okinawa Island for the start of the Japanese relay, a massive undertaking that lasted 38 days and covered just under 19,000 km by an estimated 16,300 torchbearers—nearly all of whom shared a torch. Representing the first Winter Olympics to be held outside Europe and North America, the Sapporo Games proved to be an extravagant and groundbreaking event for the international athletic community. The Sapporo torch ranks among the rarer Olympic torches, this being just the fourth example we have offered.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Olympic Memorabilia
  • Dates: #640 - Ended July 21, 2022