Featured here is an important and scarce Olympic torch from the 1948 London Summer Olympics, called the Austerity Games due to the economic climate and post-war rationing. No new venues were built for the games, and athletes were housed in existing accommodations instead of an Olympic Village. These were the first Summer Games held after a 12-year hiatus. A record 59 nations were represented by 4,104 athletes (3,714 men and 390 women) in 19 sports. Germany and Japan were not allowed to attend; the USSR was invited but chose not to participate. A total of 1,720 torches were made for the flame relay, roughly half the number produced and distributed for the first relay at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games.
The London torches were designed by Ralph Lavers and made of aluminum alloy. The 14 cm diameter bowl is pierced with three sets of Olympic rings and is inscribed around the lower rim "XIVth OLYMPIAD 1948, OLYMPIA TO LONDON, WITH THANKS TO THE BEARER." They used stainless steel holders for the magnesium candle to ensure a minimum burning time of 15 minutes. The torch stands 16 inches (41 cm) tall, with the circular bowl measuring 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. It includes its original flame holder/burner, which is 5.25" tall and 3" in diameter and sits half way into the bowl. This torch was used in the relay and there is some rusting to the flame holder, yet all components remain completely intact. The wear and tear on the metal handle and base is rather light all things considered. A wonderful example of this coveted torch, and having the flame holder gives it a leg up on most.