The elusive torch of the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, one of only 33 produced for the Xth Winter Games
Excessively rare official torch of the Grenoble 1968 Winter Olympics. One of just 33 manufactured by the Société Technique d'Equipement et de Fournitures Industrielle (STEFI), the torch is comprised of a handsome rose-gold bronze alloy with a red felt-wrapped grip. It measures 30″ in length, 4″ at its widest point, and weighs 3.6 lbs. The torch features a long, narrow combustion chamber with a crenelated upper section representing the flame. The sides of the burner head are decorated with three silver plaques featuring the Grenoble emblem designed by Roger Excoffon, depicting the Olympic rings surmounted by a snowflake, and encircled by the text, "Xes Jeux Olympiques d'Hiver, Grenoble 1968.” A small label is affixed to the bottom of the handle and the torch bears areas of oxidation and discoloring. Per the consignor, the original owner of this Grenoble torch installed and managed the gas equipment instrumental to the lighting of the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony. A magnificent opportunity to claim one of the rarest and most sought-after Olympic torches ever made.
Lit in Olympia, Greece, on December 16, 1967, the Olympic flame traveled over Mount Olympus to Athens and was then flown to the Paris-Orly airport. The first torchbearer in France was Alain Mimoun, a gold medal-winning distance runner at the 1956 Games in Melbourne and three-time Olympic silver medallist. The final torchbearer was Alain Calmat, who won silver in skating at Innsbruck in 1964. Between the two, over 5,000 torchbearers carried the flame more than 7,000 kilometers through the Jura and Vosges mountains, the Massif Central, the Pyrenees, and the Alps, with a stop at Chamonix, host of the first-ever Olympic Winter Games in 1924.