The true value of engraved sporting trophies

The true value of engraved sporting trophies

In the sporting arena, with the many tournaments and championships that are competed for nowadays, the trophies that may be awarded can come in all shapes and sizes, using a variety of styles and materials. Some, such as the FIFA World Cup (which is made from 18-carat solid gold) or the Woodlawn Vase awarded for the Preakness Stakes (made from sterling silver) can be worth a small fortune.

Others may not hold much monetary value but could be irreplaceable within the event they are representing. For example, the wooden simplicity of The Ashes, contested every two years by England and Australia, could never be replaced if they were ever lost or damaged. There are also many crystal and glass trophies that are fiercely competed for, some considered to be works of art, engraved as they are with fine details and deep artistic cuts.

The Coaches Trophy

Awarded by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) to the champions of national college football. The trophy has a unique design in that it is shaped like an American football and made entirely from crystal. The life-size crystal football is perched on an ebony base with the whole trophy weighing in at around 45lb, while the football itself weighs 8lb. The trophy is 34 inches tall and takes almost three months to handcraft. Each year a new one is made, as the winners retain the trophy, and the piece is valued at around $30,000.

A costly accident

Unusual and beautiful in design, the Coaches Trophy nevertheless, has had some bad luck over the years. Last year’s champions, the University of Alabama, had their trophy broken by a player’s father, who tripped over a rug placed underneath the podium on which the trophy was sat. In 2008, a University of Florida new recruit managed to drop the crystal football, and in 2004 a pair of trophies were stolen from outside the coaches office at Florida State, while the university was undergoing renovations.

AFCA trophy manager, Charley Green, suggests universities use adhesive tape to fix and secure the football when it is on display and take extra care when moving or cleaning it.

A solid replacement

In 2013, tennis player Maria Sharapova had trouble lifting the solid block of crystal that is now the BNP Paribas Open Trophy, as did Simone Halep when she won the championship in 2015. The trophy’s design is undoubtedly very beautiful, sculpted from crystal exclusively for the Open championships in Indian Wells, California. However, the trophy has been criticised for its weight. The previous trophy was a sculpture of a black whale and was a lot easier to lift and hold. In its favour, it could be said that the current trophy is practically unbreakable.

Engraved crystal awards and trophies such as these may be considered solid, beautiful and elegant, and their often fragile and delicate nature means they should be handled carefully. Whichever trophy is won, the true value will come from the competition and endeavour it took to beat the challenge.

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