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.
Tiffany’s legendary “Makers”—the skilled craftspeople its hollowware workshop in Cumberland, Rhode Island—bring over 65 trophies to life each year in addition to the hundreds of other designs they also produce there. These artisans still use the same tools and techniques from the mid-19th-century, such as chisel-engraved roller dies, spring hammering, repoussé, chasing, planishing and more, when creating these bespoke creations. Each trophy is stamped with “T & CO MAKERS,” a T-shaped planishing hammer and other hallmarks that nod to the Makers’ metalworking heritage. A unique pattern number, a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of Tiffany’s silver-crafting heritage, is also added to each trophy.
Tiffany’s legacy creating trophies 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. The founding sires of the thoroughbred horse in America are portrayed on the base of the bowl. Additionally, Tiffany creates horseracing trophies for The New York Racing Association® Man o’ War Cup and the Arlington Million Trophy, among others.
Throughout the 19th century, sponsors of other popular sports commissioned Tiffany to create equally elaborate trophies. The Viking Rowing Trophy, which replicates an ornate Viking ship with rippling pennants, authentic rigging and 14 great oars, is a work of exceptional craftsmanship. 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). Tiffany also created exceptional yachting trophies. Decorate with curling waves, nymphs, mermaids and dolphins, the 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 yachting trophies designed and handcrafted by Tiffany & Co. The House also creates powerboat racing trophies for the Gold Challenge Cup and sailing trophies for the Cape May Challenge Cup, the Citizen Cup and the International Cup.
At the end of the 19th 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 contest held between Brooklyn regiments.
Tiffany’s long history with baseball—“the great American pastime”—extends beyond the House’s trophy-making legacy. In 1877, Tiffany’s Chief Designer Edward C. Moore created the design for the Medal of Valor, featuring the 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 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, and with them came new Tiffany 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 recreated 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 mechanic, driver and 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 through a poll conducted by the Foundation.
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.
Since Super Bowl® XXV in 1991, Tiffany has created the Pete Rozelle Trophy, named after the former commissioner and awarded to the Super Bowl® MVP. Tiffany also proudly designed and handcrafts the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) trophies for the NFL®.
With the invention of basketball, America gained yet another major spectator and team sport. In 1977, Tiffany captured the game‘s grace and exuberance with the National Basketball Association® Championship Trophy, renamed in 1984 for Larry O‘Brien, the former NBA® Commissioner. Standing 24.5 inches in height and weighing 16 pounds, the trophy is designed to resemble a regulation-size basketball falling into a net that is etched into the trophy. The Boston Celtics were the first recipients of the (renamed) Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at 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 racecourse 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’s silversmiths have crafted the US Open® Singles and Doubles Championship Trophies for the United States Tennis Association®. Weighing 10 pounds and 18 inches tall and handcrafted in sterling silver, the Men’s and Women’s Singles Championship Trophies feature a classic design that is recognized around the world. Equally exceptional, the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championship Bowl is a four-pound revere style bowl crafted from sterling silver.
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, including:
- The FedExCup® Trophy, weighing 33 pounds and standing 5 inches in height, which is awarded in August at the season-ending Tour Championship
- The Players Championship trophy, weighing 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
- 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.
In September 2021, Tiffany unveiled its first-ever e-sports trophies, the Monster Strike Grandprix Trophy, and the Dragon Trophy for the League of Legends Pro League. The former is awarded to the champion of the popular Japanese mobile role-playing game that combines pool, pinball and combat elements as users collect anime. The latter will be awarded to the winner of the League of Legends Pro League—the top-level professional league for League of Legends in China—in fall 2021. These two designs represent the latest milestone in Tiffany’s over-160- year history designing and handcrafting sports trophies.