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640 FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF GRAN UFFICIALE COMMENDATOR MAIRANO, PRESIDENT OF THE OLYMPIC TORCH COMMITTEE FOR THE ROME 1960 OLYMPIC GAMES. SOLD BY A FAMILY DESCENDANT. The Rome 1960 Olympic Games torch with which the final bearer ignited the flame in the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony,


in bronzed aluminium, designed by Prof. Maiuri and based on depictions of torches on ancient monuments, made by Curtisa of Bologna, complete with original wick & burner, inscribed on ring above handle GIOCHI DELLA XVII OLYMPIADE, plus Olympic Rings, 40cm., 15 3/4in.; complete with two wall mounting metal torch holders, also by Curtisa, one gilded, both inscribed MCMLX, XVII OLYMPIADE ROMA, the gilded example also named to ALDO MAIRANO, 29cm., 11 1/2in. high; the lot includes a signed letter of authenticity from a family descendant (4)


Sr. Aldo Mairano, whose official title was Gran Ufficiale Commendator Mairano, was President of the 1960 Olympic Games Torch Committee and was known as the "guardian" of the torch. It was his appointed responsibility to safeguard the torch from the moment the fire was kindled at a ceremony in the Temple of Jupiter in Olympia, then along the relay route and from the moment the Olympic Flame was lit in the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium in Rome to its ultimate extinguishment during the Closing Ceremony. The Official Report of the 1960 Games has comprehensive coverage under the heading "Journey of the Torch."


Preparations for the Torch Relay commenced in 1956 with the instigation of the Committee headed by Sr. Mairano who at the time of his election was President of the International Panathlon Club. As well as the detailed planning of the route the committee had to oversee the manufacturing of the torches, the recruitment of bearers and organize the various ceremonies along the way.


It was established that a route for the torch entirely by land would not be practical and so a crossing of the the Ionian Sea became part of the itinerary. The Official Report follows the route in great detail until it finally enters the walls of Rome following the historic ancient sites of the Appian Way, the Forums, the Capitol, and from the Capitol Hill to the Olympic Stadium.


At the hand-over ceremony when the torch left Greece on 13th August, it was handed over by H.R.H. Prince Constantine of Greece to Mr Piero Oneglio, President of the C.O.N.I. and representative of the Organising Committee. He, in turn, handed it over to Aldo Mairano in his capacity of President of the Torch Committee, who then handed the flame to a cadet of the Italian Navy who brought it aboard the training ship "Amerigo Vespucci". Once on Italian soil the route to Rome commenced.


The Relay reached the Olympic Stadium at 17.30 hrs as the Opening Ceremony was taking place on 25th August. The distinction of the final bearer of the torch, and lighter of the Olympic Flame, fell to the teenage Italian athlete of Greek ancestry Giancarlo Peris. He had won a junior cross country running race staged to decide the historic final bearer.


The torch being offered at auction here is the torch that Peris used to ignite the flame before it was returned to the care of Aldo Mairano. It has remained in his family to this day. Also included in the lot are two metal wall mounting torch holders that were issued during the relay for the safekeeping of the torch. The bronzed one is the standard issue but the named gilded example, however, was a unique presentation for Gran Ufficiale Commendator Mairano in his capacity as President of the Torch Committee. £80,000 - 120,000


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