A topical item has been consigned for auction at Toovey’s Sale of Collectors’ Items on Friday 13th July 2012.
The torch is Lot 2601 and is described as a London Olympics 1948 aluminium relay torch, the bowl pierced with the trademark symbol of interlinking rings and inscribed ‘XIVth Olympiad 1948, Olympia to London, with thanks to the bearer’.
The 41cm high torch was designed by Ralph Lavers, specifically to house the tablet-form fuel that it would contain. It is documented that 1720 of these torches were produced for the relay from Greece to England, allowing enough for those to be used for demonstrations, trials and spares.
This particular torch was given to the current vendor by a relative who was employed at management level by H.M.V. at their Hayes factory. To add to this provenance, H.M.V.’s parent company, E.M.I., produced the torch at their Hayes factory. Presumably, this was an ex-demonstration or trial model. For some fourteen years the torch hung above the bar of The White Horse public house in Graffham near Petworth, West Sussex. At some stage the torch has been converted to a wall light, having a drill hole to the stem and a bulb attachment to the interior. This has been reflected in the £1000-2000 pre-sale estimate. Whether this modification will actually affect the final selling price will only become clear on July 13th at Toovey’s Spring Gardens auction house.