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Lot #3004
Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics Torch

Incredibly rare, highly sought-after torch of the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics—one of the rarest Olympic torches ever made

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Estimate: $500000+

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Server Time: 7/19/2024 04:31:35 AM EDT
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Incredibly rare, highly sought-after torch of the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics—one of the rarest Olympic torches ever made

Excessively rare official torch of the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics, marked as number "10" on the bottom of the handle, comprised of silver aluminum and measuring 19˝ long, considered to be among the rarest and most valuable of all Olympic torches. Inspired by the Ralph Lavers design of the torches used in 1948 and 1956, this torch was designed by legendary Disney 'imagineer' John Hench, and features three Olympic rings cutouts around the bowl, above a circular legend: "VIII Olympic Winter Games." Below is the Squaw Valley Games emblem between two branches and the legend "Olympia to Squaw Valley." The burner wick remains in place. The torch exhibits some minor scuffing to the bowl and handle. Consignor notes that this was acquired from the estate of a California state employee who was responsible for the safety of the torch runners.

Interestingly, Walt Disney served as chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the 1960 Squaw Valley Games, whose duties included the organization of the torch relay. One of his Disney artists, John Hench, designed the torch, the 16-foot snow-sculptures that lined the Avenue of Athletes, and the massive, 79-foot-tall Tower of Nations that marked the staging area where the opening and closing ceremonies were held.

The torch's legend, "Olympia to Squaw Valley," indicates the route originally envisioned for the relay preceding the VIII Olympic Winter Games. However, the Hellenic Olympic Committee, informed a month before the Games, did not have enough time to organize a lighting ceremony at the traditional site. Instead, the Olympic flame was lit in Morgedal, Norway, at the home of the 'father of modern skiing,' Sondre Norheim, then transported by car to Copenhagen via Oslo. The flame was then flown to Los Angeles, where the relay carried it north through Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton, San Francisco, and Sacramento, before arriving at Squaw Valley.

On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the torch was carried by American skier Andrea Mead Lawrence, who was accompanied by eight members of the National Ski Patrol. The flame was passed to the last torchbearer, skater Kenneth Charles Henry, who did a lap of the ice in front of the Blyth Memorial Arena before lighting the cauldron in which the flame would burn throughout the Games.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Olympics
  • Dates: June 18, 2024 - July 18, 2024