Fall Premier Auction 2019

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The 1964 Tokyo Games was the first Olympiad to take place in Asia. Torches from these Games are among the scarcest of Summer Olympic torches to surface in the hobby. An complete example like this one is hard to find. The Olympic flame began its journey in Olympia, Greece, and traveled to 11 Asian cities before arriving in Okinawa, Japan, and ultimately making its way to Tokyo. The relay lasted 51 days and covered a total of 26,065 km. There were 870 torchbearers outside Japan, but the exact number within the host nation is unknown. Although a typhoon and various plane issues caused a one-day delay during the relay, the triumphant final leg by Yoshinori Sakai through Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium on October 10, 1964, served as a defining moment for post-war Japan.

Designed by Munemichi Yanagi and manufactured by Nippon Light Metal Co., this torch was used in the relay and comes complete with its bowl (handle base) and cylinder (burning attachment), and even its original bowl box. In most cases, the box and cylinder are both missing. Designed like a coal-mine safety lamp, the 1964 Tokyo torch was filled with priming powder and fumigant, a two-component ignition material that needed to be wind and rain resistant. The bowl is made of blackened aluminum alloy. Its circular top has a diameter of 17 cm (6-5/8") and is engraved "XVIII OLYMPIAD TOKYO 1964" with the interlocking Olympic rings. The very bottom of the handle is inscribed "NIKKEI YANAGI." The bowl/handle piece is 19 cm (7.5") tall. The cylinder is clad with stainless steel and measures 5 cm (21.5"); when inserted into the bowl, the complete torch stands close to 65 cm (25.5"). The clean portion of the cylinder bears the 1964 Tokyo Games logo with "SHOWA KASEIHIN CO., 3-1964" inscribed at the lower end, both of which are hidden when inserted into the bowl.

The aluminum bowl has very few scratch marks and a light stain on top. The cylinder shows more usag with obvious signs of burning remnants on the upper end; it remains straight (these are often bent due to the insertion process) but does have a couple minor indentations. Overall, the complete torch presents in EX condition. It comes with its original square cardboard box that holds just the bowl. The gray presentation box is in fine shape on the exterior; it has the Tokyo Games logo on the outside with other key descriptors labeled just under the opening. A terrific set for Olympic collectors.

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