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High objects of State (letters patent from Queen Victoria, each w/ Great Seal):
Author of Balfour Declaration - 1898 diplomatic credentials, for talks with Germany
Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873 

The (Swedish General) Viktor Balck Olympic Games- Founding Archive
Swedish gold and bronze medals honoring Viktor Balck | Viktor Balck 1912 Stockholm Olympics book Tower and Sword collar of Viktor Balck

Civil War Gillmore Medal to Jewish officer who helped 1863 "Glory" charge toward Ft. Wagner 1863                                                                        
Statesmen |Koerber - 1920s friend, then foe of Hitler |The Viktor von Koerber WWI Aviation Archive|
Presentation keys, gold medal to major U.K. statesman  Award Documents to important 19th century European diplomats

The JFK and staffers convention badges etc. ArchiveI.D. Badges to JFK and Secretary Ev Lincoln Mass. Labor Federation badge (major speech)  1960 Democratic Nomination campaign: aide Bob Troutman

Heroines | "Girl who defied Hitler" at 1936 Olympics: biography  Inge Sorensen Archive: items                 First ever (gold NYC) Women's Club Medal of Honor
  Award Diplomas to great Jewess opera singer
The Poignant Mayer family Jewish Heroism for (in WWI) and Flight from (pre-WWII) Germany Archive 
Presentation trowel etc. to president of "philanthropic" society for troubled girls

Concepts | News |
Historical commentary

Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines

A) Gold and bronze medals  (these completely unique, as only silver specimens were available to others besides Balck and the King) presented to General Victor G. BALCK, struck by Royal Swedish Mint to honor his 80th birthday, the issuance of this official medal being the pinnacle of his career:

1)  Royal Swedish Mint, Balck's 80th birthday, 25 April 1924, by Erik Lindberg, gold, 57mm., 143.6 grams; edge stamped "GULD 1924".

2)  Royal Swedish Mint, Balck's 80th birthday, 25 April 1924, by Erik Lindberg, bronze, 57mm., 74 grams.

A)  Royal Swedish Mint, Balck's 80th birthday, 25 April 1924, by Erik Lindberg,
57 mm. diameter, 74 grams, bronze.

B)  Swedish Sports Association 1934 Athletics Day: Balck portrait medal, bronze, 40mm. diameter.

3)  Oak display frame, 183 x 125 mm., customized to contain felt mounted on each side of a board, hollowed for view (on each side) of two medals fitted into place:

4)  VIKTOR BALCKS MINNEN (Memoirs) (Stockholm: Bonnier, 1931) with cover page depicting obverse of his 80th birthday medal.

B) 1912 Olympic Games Report book, presentation edition, # 40 of 2500 deluxe copies, this with inset silken endpapers embossed with Balck's VGB monogram.; 526 pp., in Swedish, English, German & French;  bound in gilt blue leather, weighs 9.5  kilograms;
plus other books by and about Balck and the Olympics, and hundreds of pages of research.

Viktor Gustaf Balck, KCMG (1844–1928) was a Swedish officer and sports personality who was one of the original members of the International Olympic Committee, and who is often called "the father of Swedish sports".

Military career
Balck was born April 25, 1844 in Karlskrona, Sweden and was a sailor in his youth. In 1861, he became a cadet of the Swedish Navy at the Swedish War Academy at Karlberg in Stockholm. After a while, he switched track to become a cadet in the Swedish army, and was active in fencing and gymnastics. He stayed on as assistant gymnastics instructor at Karlberg for a while, and was promoted to second lieutenant/ in the Närke regiment in 1866. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1875 at the same regiment and to captain in 1884.

However, his military career came to be devoted almost entirely to gymnastics and sports. He was assistant teacher at Karlberg 1868-1870 and gymnastics teacher at the Swedish cavalry riding school at Strömsholm 1870-1872. He became teacher of military gymnastics and fencing at the Swedish Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1885, was head teacher of the same subject 1887-1909 and the Institute's director 1907-1909. He was promoted to major in the Swedish Army in 1894, to lieutenant colonel in 1900 and to colonel in 1904. In 1909 he transferred to reserve status and in 1914 he received an honorary promotion to major general.

Career as sports leader
Directly after completing his officer's training, Balck studied the pedagogical, military and medical course at the Swedish Central Institute of Gymnastics 1866-1868, and stayed on as assistant teacher at the Institute 1868-1870, while also being an assistant teacher at Karlberg. From 1872, his main activities - both in military and civilian gymnastics and sports - had the Institute as a base.

As a young officer and gymnastics teacher, Balck was of the impression that voluntary gymnastics and sports activities in Sweden, i.e., outside the army and the schools, were undeveloped in comparison to the contemporary situation in many other countries. Determined to change this, from the 1870s he participated in the formation of several sporting clubs and organisations, and the founding of several related journals. During this time, Swedish organised sports took shape, and Balck became one of its leading figures.

 International sports career
Balck also became involved in the emerging international sports movement at the end of the 19th century. In 1894 he became one of the original members of International Olympic Committee (IOC), and was one of two vice presidents of the Swedish Olympic Committee from 1913 to his death in 1928. He was also one of the leading figures behind the Nordic Games* which were arranged from 1901.

Already in 1894 in IOC, Balck had proposed Stockholm as a venue for the Olympic Games. The official application to arrange the games came in 1908, and despite strong competition from Berlin, Stockholm were chosen to host the 1912 Summer Olympics with Balck a prominent member of the national organising committee.

He was also a president of the International Skating Union from 1894 and 1924. His ice skating career also included the construction of the "Balck skate".

In recognition of his international sports career, Balck was made an honorary KCMG, and was thereafter able to style himself as Viktor Balck, KCMG.

Nordisk familjebok, band 2 (1904), sp. 754-755: Balck, Viktor Gustaf  
Nordisk familjebok, supplementband 34 (1922), sp. 433: Balck, Viktor Gustaf
Swedish Olympic Committee: Stockholm 1912

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Balck

C)  Collar of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword, 4th class, reign of Luis I, total length of 365 mm., with sixteen link-pairs and a silver and enameled badge, in burgundy case of issue.

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International Olympic Committee - Session in Athens, 10.04.1896
(from left) 
Dr. Willibald Gebhardt, Pierre de Coubertin, Councillor Jiri Guth-Jarkovsky, Demetrius Vikelas, Ferenc Kemény, Alexei General de Boutowsky,
Viktor General Balck

D. Miller's book, p.20, on how close the Olympic movement came to failing, if not for the leadership of Balck and a few others:

Nearly fail it had. Between the second and fourth Games of Paris and London, criticism of de Coubertin in America was rife, led by James Sullivan, organiser of the third Games at St Louis and volubly supported by IOC member Caspar Whitney, war correspondent and explorer: The International Committee, with Pierre de Coubertin as chairman, showed 'little more conception of the significance of the classic event committed to their care than might have been expected of a barker.'

Sullivan and Whitney both wanted to create a new international body, supposedly one that would extend American influence within the new Olympic Movement. After the fourth Games in London, Whitney had stated:  'As soon as Mr Sullivan returns, I'm going to take up vigorously the question of reorganising the present International Committee. It seems ... a perfectly ridiculous organisation ... no more than a personal plaything for de Coubertin, who appears to take courses of action quite without consultation with any but himself.'  Sir Theodore Cook, British IOC member, recorded in his "rime Sunlit Hours - A Record or Sport arid Life that `the IOC is an inept organisation, and its leader flounders in his inability to accept practical suggestions. The IOC is absurdly unbusiness-like'.  In spite of Cook's disparaging comments, the I0C would hold together, thanks to the efficiency of successive Games in London and Stockholm and the respective leadership in Britain and Sweden of Robert de Courcy-Laffan and Viktor Balck; and of William Sloane, American doctor of philosophy who separated himself from the strictures of Sullivan and Whitney, and of the equally loyal Willibald Gephardt from Germany.

BALCK was a pillar upon whom de Coubertin increasingly leaned and the correspondence between them was extensive. Ahead of his time, Balck was conscious of likely trends, and at the IOC Congress at Le Havre in 1897 was already suggesting that IOC members should include representatives of international sports federations and that the Games programme should be constantly reviewed and approved. Congresses are staged intermittently, embracing all arms of the Movement as opposed to the annual Sessions of the IOC. The 1905 Congress in Brussels, 29 NOCs sent a total of 120 delegates. It was this mounting collective interest that helped the IOC survive the disarray of the 1904 Games in St. Louis.

From http://www.numismatics.org/exhibits/FullCircle/index.html :
The Olympic Heritage in Coins & Medals, An Exhibition by the American Numismatic Society:
Olympiad IV, London, 1908:

With de Coubertin's vision once again on track, following a second joyous success in Athens, all seemed to bode well for London in 1908. The Olympics had finally garnered international attention and were attracting participants from more than the original dozen or so countries; 22 nations were to compete in London.... In spite of the care-ful preparations, however, the Olympics of 1908 were not a happy set of Games . Many contestants, especially those from the US, felt that the British were poor referees and purposely insulted the competitors. There was so much bickering, in fact, that the London papers called the Games a fiasco, and advised that they be stopped forever.

Olympiad  V,  Stockholm,  1912

Once again, the future of the modern Games seemed to hang in the balance; failure in Stockholm would seal the fate of de Coubertin's Olympic vision. But the Swedes were determined to make the Games of the Vth Olympiad the best yet, and they succeeded . A national lottery was held to raise the growing sums needed to host the Olympics, which meant that new stadi-ums and extensive entertainment programs were de rigueur. To de Coubertinís pleasure, the Swedes also extended the program to include competitions in the fine arts. In stark contrast to the gloom of the London Games, those of 1912 were described as a prolonged love fest, which no doubt helped the Olympic movement to survive the long interruption caused by the First World War. For the first time in Olympic history, modern or ancient, the Games were cancelled on account of war; the Games of the VIth Olympiad, 1916, had been scheduled to be held in Berlin.

US WWII WASP service certificate to 1st winner of Amelia Earhart Scholarship

J.A. Schramek
& Associates

Site map:

The (Swedish General) Viktor Balck Olympic Games-Founding Archive
This, the most important Olympics-birth Archive in existence, (aside from those in museums*) consists of:
Site Map

* Olympic founder Pierre de Coubertin's papers and other effects are mostly at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, although some are at the Sporthochschule in Cologne, Germany, and at the Musee Nationale du Sport in Paris. (See http://www.coubertin.ch/pdf/MEP Angl. Cou 2 + 8p. + 6 .pdf )

As of 29 April 2011, the de Coubertin object given the most emphasis on the Lausanne museum web site is his fencing mask. (See http://www.olympic.org/content/museum/museum-treasures/pierre-de-coubertin/ )

Victor G. BALCK, a key
right-hand man of Olympics
founder Pierre de Coubertin.
Balck's leadership of the crucial 1912 Stockholm Games assured that the Olympic idea would survive World War I.

*  The Nordic Games was the first international multi-sport event that focused on winter sports, and were held at varying intervals between 1901 and 1926.  They were the precursor to the Winter Olympics. Balck retired from the IOC in 1921.

Swedish Olympic Committee:  Stockholm 1912
(from http://www.sok.se/inenglish/stockholm1912.4.18ea16851076df63622800011250.html

.... Viktor Balck had suggested Sweden as a suitable host city as early as 1894, the year of the congress in Paris.
But it took until 1908 before Sweden applied for the Games. Stockholm was competing against Berlin who was bidding for the second time. They had also applied for the 1908 Olympics, which were later held in London....

By being a successful nation in sports and an excellent Olympic host country, Sweden would gain prestige in the rest of the world.

Stable organizations
If we skip ahead a few years, we learn that the Games in Stockholm were a success. The main reason for this was the strong sports movement in Sweden at the time. Two stable organizations worked together, the Central Organization for the Promotion of Sports and the Swedish Gymnastics and Sports Association, which in 1903 became the Swedish Sports Confederation (RF). The two organizations had clear-cut roles and this situation worked out well, even though their cooperation was not always free from problems.
But perhaps most importantly, Sweden was used to arranging big sports events. Starting in 1901, Sweden (that is Viktor Balck) had hosted the Nordic Games, a very large winter sports event. They were similar to the Winter Olympics, which were introduced in 1924. The Nordic Games were arranged every four years until 1926.
By arranging the Nordic Games, the leaders of Swedish sports had gained a lot of experience in how to organize large events, which came in very handy during Stockholm´s preparations for the Summer Olympics.

Support From the Government
One of the things that contributed to Sweden´s getting the Olympics was the solid support given to Viktor Balck by the Swedish sports movement and the government. This in turn guaranteed the financing of the Games.

Items in this Archive (except for all books, but for the major 1912 book) were obtained from a 2006 Morton and Eden auction of twenty-two lots, most of which contained Swedish and foreign awards to Balck, from the estate of a Balck heir.  We concentrated our resources on obtaining those of the greatest historical significance, all aspects considered.  The key information about the rarity and significance of the gold medal was not indicated in the 2006 catalogue, and was discovered later by J. Schramek.

Books (in whole or part) by Balck
(incl. in Archive):
Books about Balck (incl. in Archive)
Jan Lindroth, Idrott för kung och fosterland : den svenska idrottens fader Viktor Balck 1844-1928, (Sports for King and Fatherland: the Father of Swedish Sports, Viktor Balck), 2006, 208 pages.

Åke Mattsson, Viktor Balck, köpmannasonen som blev den svenska idrottens fader, 1994, 45 pages.

Varjfaktning (Fencing), 1888.

Idrottstäflingar och lekar (Sports Events and Games"), 1888.

"Sporting Life in Sweden", from Sweden: a Short Handbook (ed. by the Swedish Tourist Traffic Society) 1906.

"Olimpiska Spelen i Stockholm" in Svenska Turist Foreningens Arsskrift 1913

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Telephone  773-539-5751      
FAX            773-304-0131
Postal address
P.O. Box 300791, Chicago, IL 60630, USA
Electronic mail  buynobel@sbcglobal.net
Prices available upon request.

Sir Viktor Balck was one of the five original members of the International Olympic Committee, and became the crucial stabilizing practical influence which balanced the visionary idealism of Committee President Pierr de Coubertin. The 1912 Stockholm Games, inspired and led by Balck, were the key success which enabled the Olympic idea to survive the trying atmosphere of post-World War I Europe. (See excerpts near bottom of this page.)

40 page booklet,
published 1942