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Item   Title MB Now at Next bid Bids New bid Max bid  
3131   Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics Torch  $500 $2796 $3076 15 You must login to place a bid.
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#3131 - Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics Torch Estimate: $6,000+

Sought-after torch from the Nagano 1988 Winter Olympics, carried by an advisor for the Games

Official 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics torch, comprised of aluminum and cotton, measuring 21.5″ in length and 4.75″ at its widest point. Manufactured by the Katsura Co., and designed by the Nagano Olympic Games Organizing Committee, the torch was inspired by pine branch torches called taimatsu that were used in the past in Japan. The hexagonal shape of the body represents snow crystals, with the silver color chosen to resemble a wintry landscape; when turned upside-down, the torch gives the resemblance of a Bonsho bell found in Buddhist temples. The six silver-colored vertical bands are adorned with raised pictograms of fifteen sporting events, as well as the Nagano Games logo and text in both English and French, “The XVIII Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998.” The five red rings mounted to the top bear gold-colored Olympic rings, and the yellow rope wrapped to the lower handle is a reference to a traditional element of Japanese design.

The Olympic flame arrived in Tokyo on December 23, 1997, and was soon split into three flames at a ceremony in the Yoyogi Athletic Park on January 4, 1998. They were taken by plane to three destinations— the Eastern Japan route (Hokkaido), the Pacific Ocean route (Kagoshima), and the Sea of Japan route (Okinawa)—and, upon entering Nagano Prefecture from the north, south, and east, the flames were reunited in Central Square on February 6th. The relay lasted a total of 51 days, traveled over 3,400 km, and featured over 6,900 torchbearers. The Games themselves were highly successful, and witnessed the introduction of women's ice hockey, curling, and snowboarding. Additionally, National Hockey League players were allowed to participate in the men's ice hockey event. A scarce and brilliant Olympic torch that gracefully blends Japanese tradition with a modern touch.

This torch originates from the collection of George Hirthler, the author of The Idealist, a historical novel on the life and times of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games. In 1998, Hirthler served the International Olympic Committee as a strategic brand advisor on the Nagano Olympic Games. Then IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, awarded Hirthler a leg in the Torch Relay for his work on the 'Look of the Games.' Since then, the torch has been mounted to a wall in Hirthler’s office next to his Atlanta 1996 Torch. A copy of The Idealist signed by Hirthler is included with the torch.

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