Top Most Expensive Sporting Trophies
Overview of the world’s most expensive trophies
Playing in your teamkit and representing your country is for most athletes an achievement and goal in itself. However, on top of that, athletes regard the trophies they win with pride, and to them they are priceless. Any non cricket fan looking at the Ashes, for example, would have to wonder what could be so important about a small, unattractive pot! Now, everyone knows that Olympic gold medals aren’t actually solid gold, so what are some of the world’s greatest sports trophies made of and what are they really worth? Here’s a look at some of the most expensive.
FIFA World Cup Trophy
Probably the world’s most prestigious and expensive trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy was introduced in 1974 to replace the old Jules Rimet Trophy (once named Victory) and is awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup. The original Jules Rimet Trophy was made from gold-plated silver but the 1974 version is made from 6.175 kg of 18-carat gold mounted on two layers of malachite. It stands about 37 cm high. When it was first made, the trophy cost US$50,000 but these days is valued at about $20 million. Small wonder, the winning side only receives a gold-plated replica.
Possibly the biggest trophy in sport, the Borg-Warner Trophy stands 1.625 m high and weighs 45 kg. It is awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 and was first presented in 1936. When commissioned it cost a then whopping US$10,000 but is now reckoned to be worth some $1.3 million. Made from sterling silver, the trophy is actually hollow and is unique in that a sculptured image of the winning driver is added to the trophy every year. Since 1988 winners have received a 460 mm replica, known as a ‘Baby Borg’.
The FA Cup is presented to the winners of the world’s oldest association football competition. In it fifth incarnation, the trophy was first presented in 1872. Stolen in 1895, it was replaced with a replica that was used till 1910 and was sold at Christie’s in 2005 for £420,000. The third trophy, a larger affair, was used until 1991, when it was replaced with an identical trophy because it had become too fragile. A new trophy, based on the 1911 trophy, was introduced for the 2014 FA Cup competition. At 6.3 kg it is heavier and sturdier than previous trophies.
Premier League Trophy
Probably the world’s most prestigious football league, the Premier League came into being in 1992. Champions are awarded a Silver gilt and sterling silver trophy on a malachite base that was designed by Royal Jewellers Asprey of London and stands about 104 cm tall with a total weight of 25 kg (the trophy and crown weigh 10 kg while the base weighs 15 kg). The value of the silver is around £3,700 but like all trophy’s it’s true value lies in the glory of winning it.
Champions League Trophy
Introduced in 1967 (the original was presented at the first tournament in 1956) the present UEFA Champions League Trophy is not particularly attractive but is the ultimate prize in European club football. The sterling silver trophy stands 71 cm tall and weighs 7.5 kg so in bullion terms it is not that valuable. Clubs that win five or more times or three times in a row get to keep. But, you’ll probably never get to buy even a copy as no one is licensed to produce replicas or miniatures.
First awarded in 1861, the 13.6 kg sterling silver Woodlawn Vase is presented to the winner of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of America’s horse-racing triple crown. The bullion value is around £5,000 but it’s insurance value is said to exceed £2.5 million.
Vince Lombardi Trophy
The Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the winners of the NFL Superbowl and is shaped like a full-sized football on a kicking tee. Standing about 56 cm high and weighing about 3.18 kg, the trophy is made of sterling silver. It was first awarded in 1967 (to the Green Bay Packers) and is retained by the winning team. Each year a new trophy is crafted by silversmiths of the prestigious Tiffany & Co. at a cost of around US$50,000. And which team has the most? That honour goes to Pittsburgh Steelers with a total of six to date.
The America’s Cup
Awarded first in 1851 to the schooner America after it won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s annual Isle of Wight regatta, the America’s Cup is named for its first winner. The Auld Mug, as it is affectionately known, is a sterling silver ewer that was created by Garrard & Co as an off-the-shelf trophy at an original cost of £100. In itself, the Cup is not really worth a great deal but it makes this list simply because its prestige makes it invaluable and, as sporting trophies go, surely none has seen more money spent in attempts to win it.
The Stanley Cup dates back to 1892 when it was donated to Canada’s top amateur ice hockey side by Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor General of Canada. The first winners were Montreal HC in 1893. In the early years, the Cup was played for on a challenge basis as the leagues in which competing sides played had no play-off system. By 1927, however, the NHL had formed and included teams from both the USA and Canada and the Stanley Cup became the premier prize. Since then, the Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup 19 times but the Chicago Blackhawks are the current holders and have won three of the last six competitions. The present day trophy is a mixture of silver and nickel alloy; it weighs 15.5 kg and stands 89.54 cm tall. Teams are traditionally awarded the Cup on the ice but do not get to keep it.
The values of some major trophies (Bullion prices based on current market prices)
FIFA World Cup Trophy – when it was made, it cost around $50,000 but is now valued at $20 million.
Olympic Gold Medals – not particularly valuable in themselves – those awarded at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are worth around $600 in bullion value – Olympic Gold Medals can achieve huge prices at auction as these two examples show. In 2012, boxer Wladimir Klitschko sold his gold medal for about a million dollars while In 2013 one of the golds won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games fetched $1,466,574.
Woodlawn Trophy – the bullion value is around £5,000 but its insurance value is said to exceed £2.5 million.
The Master’s – winners receive a replica of the Master’s Trophy valued at about £6000 but, according to Golfweek in 2011, to buy a trophy that was awarded to a player would set you back at least $300,000 (around £200,000). The original, which sits in the Augusta clubhouse, is made of silver and weighs about 15.88 kg giving it a bullion value of £5800, but to the golfing world it’s priceless.
Borg-Warner Trophy – It’s bullion value is about £16000 but it is thought to be worth around $1.3 million (£78,000).
Vince Lombardi Superbowl Trophy – made by Tiffany & Co from 3.2 kg sterling silver with a bullion bullion value of £1165, the cost price is $50,000.
Commissioner’s Trophy made by Tiffany & Co from 13.6 kg sterling silver bullion value £4951.
All Images in the above blog are courtesy of Getty.