The custom of awarding a trophy for victory on the athletic field began in ancient Greece. When the tradition was revived in the late 1870s, organizers of sporting events turned to Tiffany & Co. to create outstanding awards commemorating sports victors. Since then, Tiffany has created the most revered symbols of athletic achievement in nearly every notable field of sport. The moment of victory at major sporting events such as the Super Bowl®, the World Series® and the PGA TOUR® is commemorated for all time by the presentation of custom-designed trophies from Tiffany & Co.
Each year, 65 trophies made by Tiffany Makers, the skilled craftspeople at Tiffany’s hollowware workshop in Forest Hill, Rhode Island, are given to commemorate greatness in sports, and hundreds of other designs are also produced in the facility. Tiffany Makers still use the same tools and techniques from the mid-nineteenth century, such as chisel-engraved roller dies, spring hammering, repoussé, chasing, planishing and more, when creating Tiffany’s custom-designed sports trophies. Each trophy is stamped with a “T & CO MAKERS” hallmark that features a hammer in the shape of a T, nodding to the Tiffany Makers’ heritage of handcrafted metalworking, as well as a unique pattern number (a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of Tiffany’s silver crafting heritage).
This great legacy began in 1860 with the creation of the Woodlawn Vase, the second jewel in the Triple Crown and today the oldest continuously contested trophy in the United States.
In 1897 Tiffany was commissioned to design the Belmont Memorial Challenge Cup for the Belmont Stakes®, the oldest of the Triple Crown events, named after financier August Belmont who initiated the race. The founding sires of the thoroughbred horse in America are portrayed on the base of the bowl.
Additionally, Tiffany creates horse racing trophies for the New York Racing Association® Man o’ War Cup and the Arlington Million Trophy, among others.
Sponsors of other popular sports of the day commissioned Tiffany to create equally elaborate trophies. A perfect example is the Viking Rowing Trophy, which replicates an ornate Viking ship with rippling pennants, authentic rigging and 14 great oars. This trophy was originally awarded to the winner of a collegiate rowing race (rowing was one of the first collegiate sports in the U.S. for which trophies were made). This tradition of creating intricate and embellished designs reached its zenith with the yachting trophies Tiffany created throughout the late 19th century. Decorated with curling waves, nymphs, mermaids and dolphins, these magnificent trophies recall the pageantry surrounding the great ocean races of the time.
Among the era’s most richly embellished yachting trophies are the legendary Goelet Cups. These were commissioned by Ogden Goelet, a prominent member of the New York Yacht Club® who made Newport, Rhode Island, synonymous with yachting. Today the New York Yacht Club® is home to 25 magnificent Tiffany yachting trophies. Tiffany also creates power boat racing trophies for the Gold Challenge Cup and sailing trophies for the Cape May Challenge Cup, the Citizen Cup and the International Cup.
Tiffany’s long history with the great American pastime, baseball, extends beyond trophy-making. In 1877, Tiffany chief designer Edward C. Moore designed the Medal of Valor, featuring the familiar interlocking “N” and “Y” insignia, to be given by the New York City Police Department to Officer John McDowell, the first NYC policeman shot in the line of duty. Its design later inspired the iconic New York Yankees® logo.
In 1888, Tiffany created the first world championship baseball trophy, the Hall Championship Cup. Tiffany also designed the All-Star Home Run Derby® trophy and The Commissioner’s Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the MLB World Series®.
In 1992 and 1993, Tiffany created the World Series® Rings for the Toronto Blue Jays®. The rings for the first Blue Jays’ victory were personalized with each player’s name and jersey number, the World Series® logos and 16 diamonds, representing the Blue Jays’ then sixteen years in baseball. To celebrate their second World Series® victory, the rings, containing 45 pavé-set diamonds, were inscribed “Back to Back” to signify their second consecutive victory. A few years later in 2000, Major League Baseball® commissioned Tiffany to create one of the most celebrated awards in all of sports: The Commissioner’s Trophy. The 20-pound, 24-inch trophy features 30 flags, one for each Major League team, with latitude and longitude lines symbolizing the world.
During the 20th century, new sports emerged for which Tiffany was called upon to create trophies. In 1904 Tiffany produced the Vanderbilt Cup, named for William K. Vanderbilt, who organized a 284-mile auto race on Long Island to stimulate interest in American-made cars. The trophy, which depicts Mr. Vanderbilt in his 90-horsepower Mercedes, was re-created in 1996 for the inaugural U.S. 500 auto race and became the championship trophy for the Champ Car World Series in 2000.
As interest in auto racing grew, so did the trophy size. In 1909 Tiffany designed the eight-foot Wheeler-Schebler Trophy. Commissioned by the Wheeler and Schebler Companies of Indianapolis, the trophy was awarded annually to the driver of the Indianapolis 500® who led the race at the 400-mile mark. The trophy was retired in the 1930s after car owner Harry Hartz won the trophy three consecutive times.
In 1959, the National Football Foundation commissioned Tiffany to create the MacArthur Bowl honoring General Douglas MacArthur. The trophy is given to the year’s best college football team, selected by a poll conducted by the Foundation.
In professional football, the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl® Trophy marks the pinnacle of gridiron glory. Tiffany has produced the coveted 22-inch, 7-pound trophy since the first Super Bowl® in 1967. In 1970 the trophy was renamed for Vince Lombardi, the late Green Bay Packers coach who led the Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls. The trophy was initially designed by Oscar Riedener, a former vice president at Tiffany & Co., who sketched the basic design on a napkin during a 1966 meeting with then NFL® commissioner, Pete Rozelle. The design features a regulation-size football in kicking position. Tiffany also creates the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) trophies.
Tiffany also creates the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which is awarded to each season’s winner of the American college football series among the teams of the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy.
With the invention of basketball, America gained yet another major spectator and team sport. In 1978, Tiffany captured the game’s grace and exuberance with the National Basketball Association® Championship Trophy, re-named in 1984 for Larry O’Brien, the former NBA® Commissioner. Standing 24.5 inches in height and weighing 16 pounds, the trophy is etched to resemble a basketball net and has the appearance of a regulation-size basketball. The Boston Celtics were the first recipients of the (renamed) Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in the 1984 NBA® Finals. In 1997 Tiffany designed the Women’s National Basketball Association® Championship Trophy, which stands 19 inches in height and features a seven-inch basketball supported by three columns set in a curved triangular base. Additionally, Tiffany creates the Bill Russell NBA® Finals MVP Award and the NBA® Eastern and Western Conference Championship trophies.
Once a year, New York City clears a path through its five boroughs for the marathon that draws the world’s best runners, thousands of running enthusiasts and millions of spectators. The male and female winners of this popular event are presented with the Samuel Rudin Trophy. Created in 1984, this sterling silver tray features an etched map of the boroughs with the race course highlighted in blue enamel. Tiffany also commemorates New York City’s marathon with an annual collection of pendants, bracelets, key tags, cuff links and other sterling silver designs stamped with race’s logo.
Since 1987, Tiffany silversmiths have crafted the US Open® Trophy for the United States Tennis Association® weighing 10 pounds and 18 inches tall, awarded to the Men’s and Women’s Singles champions.
Tiffany creates the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy, awarded annually since 2008 to the Major League Soccer® (MLS) Cup Champion, the MLS MVP trophy and MLS Eastern and Western Conference Trophies. The Philip F. Anschutz Trophy weighs 43 pounds and stands at 28 inches in height.
Tiffany creates numerous PGA TOUR® trophies. These include the FedExCup® Trophy, weighing 33 pounds and standing 13.5 inches in height, which is awarded in August at the season-ending Tour Championship; The Players Championship trophy, weighing 7.6 pounds and standing 17 inches tall, which was first awarded in March 2019; the 28-inch Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy, awarded in March; The Northern Trust trophy, awarded in August; the 20-inch DICK’S Sporting Goods® Open Champions Tournament trophy; the 18-inch Charles Schwab Championship Cup trophy, a Champions Tour design that is awarded at the culmination of the Charles Schwab Championship season; and the nine-inch Bryon Nelson Trophy, awarded annually at the AT&T Bryon Nelson Tournament.
Tiffany creates the National Hockey League® Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the hockey team that finishes the regular season with the best overall record, and the Layman Trophy for figure skating.
At the end of the nineteenth century, sharpshooting contents were highly popular; major “shoots” would draw over 100,000 spectators. In 1896, the most widely read afternoon newspaper in the United Sates commissioned from Tiffany the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Prize Cup. The award was given to the winner of a sharpshooting content held between Brooklyn regiments.
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