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15 Oldest Sports Trophies in the World

A trophy is a tangible, durable reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as a recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional-level athletics. Many sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts use championship belts as trophies; however, unlike most of the trophies mentioned below, a new one is not created every time a new champion is crowned. Rather, the new champion takes the belt from the old one. Trophies have been awarded for a team or individual accomplishments in sports by the sport’s governing body. In this post, we’ve sourced and given an overview of some of the oldest sports trophies in the world. These trophies all have fascinating backstories and are still in use today. 

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Top 15 Oldest Sports Trophies in the World

1. Carlisle Bells(1599) – Horse Racing

Carlisle Racing Bells and Cumberland Plate

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The Carlisle Bells are the oldest sporting trophy in the world. It is a horse racing trophy dating back to 1559, when the coveted bells were first awarded, this prize originated in Cumbria, England. The Bells were kept at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle but since then they have moved to Newmarket and will travel 500 miles round trip each year for the race. The race has been run for over 400 years in Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom.

2. Scorton Silver Arrow (1673) 

top 10 oldest trophies in sports

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The Antient Scorton Silver Arrow is one of the oldest sports trophies in the world and dates back to 1673 when it was first introduced in Yorkshire, England. The tournament has been held every year since 1673 (apart from the different Wars), and in 2008 it marked its three-hundredth anniversary. Targets with a four-foot (122 cm) (5-color) face are shot 100 yards away by participants. The first person to reach the black area is declared the winner and given the title Captain of the Arrow. It is the World’s longest-established and oldest recorded sporting event, dating back to 1673 and the first shot in Scorton Village, North Yorkshire.

3. Royal Musselburgh Old Club Cup (1774) – Golf

History 1760 - 1828 - Royal Musselburgh Golf Club

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The Royal Musselburgh Old Club Cup, which dates to 1774, is said to be the oldest golf trophy currently being competed for. Mr. Thomas McMillan of Shorthope, who won the Cup and was named the club’s captain, gave it to the golf club. After 150 years of jam-packed play, the club relocated to Prestongrange House near Prestonpans in 1925. In addition to having one of the oldest sports trophies, the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club is one of the oldest golf societies in the world, which are all from Scotland.

4. Royal St. John’s Regatta Cup (1816) – Boat Racing

2022 Platinum Jubilee Royal St. John's Regatta - Royal St. John's Regatta

North America’s annual boat race sporting event is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. There is credible contention that St. John’s regattas were held even earlier than 1816, likely in the 18th century. The races of 1818 were held on September 22 in order to coincide with the 57th anniversary of King George III’s official coronation. It is from this date that the Regatta Committee takes its anniversary.

5. America’s Cup (1851) – sailing yacht competition

37th America's Cup

America’s Cup, or Auld Mug, is the oldest international competition still operating in any sport. The cup was originally known as the ‘R.Y.S. £100 Cup’, awarded in 1851 by the British Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight. From the first defense of the cup in 1870 until the twentieth defense in 1967, there was always one challenger, The New York Yacht Club. Matches are held several years apart on dates agreed between the defender and the challenger.

The New York Yacht Club’s 132-year reign as holders of America’s Cup was the longest in terms of time in any sport. The NYYC successfully defended the trophy twenty-four times in a row before being defeated by the Royal Perth Yacht club, represented by the yacht Australia II.

6. Football Association (FA) Cup (1871–72) – Football

Football Association (FA) Cup 1871–72

The FA Cup is one of the oldest national football competitions in the world. The trophy was first created in 1872, and it has undergone two renovations since then. A total of 250 hours of work went into the current FA Cup, which was introduced in 2013. It stands 61.5 centimeters tall and is made of 925 sterling silver with a value of about $1.18 million. Wanderers won the first FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Royal Engineers.

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7. Claret Jug (1872) – Golf

Claret Jug facts: oldest sports trophies

The Claret Jug dates back to 1872 and remains one of the oldest trophies in sports. The Claret Jug is presented to the winner of each year’s Open Championship and was first presented to Tom Kidd in 1873. The trophy is made in the style of jugs used in the nineteenth century to serve a dry red wine, called claret. The winner is allowed to keep the jug for one year, before returning it for the next tournament. The winner then receives a replica of the award to keep permanently.

8. The Scottish Cup (1873–74) – Football

 Scottish Cup: 15 oldest sports trophies in the world

The Scottish Cup is one of the oldest and first football trophies. The first tournament was place in 1873–1874 and the cup was awarded to the Queen’s Park first in 1874 after winning the tournament. It stands two feet tall, is mostly composed of silver, and is covered by insurance for over £2 million.  Scottish teams have played for the cup since the 1873–74 season, and it now has a fresh certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records.

9. Wimbledon Trophies (1877) – Tennis

Wimbledon trophy: 15 oldest trophies in sports

Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and it has been held in London since 1877. The first Wimbledon trophy called the Field Cup dates back to the inaugural tournament in 1877 and was used until 1883. The Field Cup was replaced by the Challenge Cup from 1884 – 1886. Both trophies became the property of William Renshaw after he won the Gentlemen’s Single title three times in succession twice.

10. Calcutta Cup (1879) – Rugby

Calcutta Cup: top 15 oldest sports trophies in the world

The Calcutta Cup is the oldest and most recognizable rugby trophy in the world. It has a fascinating past that started in the 1870s on the Indian subcontinent. Calcutta (Rugby) Football Club was forced to shut down in 1878 for a variety of reasons, including the game of polo becoming increasingly popular there, despite a lack of new members joining the club and a British army regiment’s departure from the city. As a result, the club took their remaining funds and ordered a silver trophy made from 270 melted silver rupee coins. These coins were worth £60 in total.

The Rugby Football Union in England was then given this trophy, which they were free to use however they saw fit because it was “the best means of doing some lasting good for the cause of rugby football.” The cup was made in India and decorated with cobras and an elephant.

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11. The Ashes Urn ( 1882) – Cricket

The Ashes urn

The Ashes Urn is believed to contain the ashes of a burnt cricket bail. It is thought to be one of the most famous cricket trophies but is never really presented to the winners. The urn is so fragile it has been kept at the MCC Museum at Lord’s and has only been taken to Australia twice.

12. Stanley Cup (1893) – Hockey

Stanley Cup - ice hockey trophy

The Stanley Cup is North America’s first professional sports trophy. in memory of Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada’s governor general from 1892 to 1893. The National Hockey League’s playoff-winning team receives the trophy each year. The Stanley Cup is not produced every year, though, unlike every other sports trophy. Instead, the Cup is embellished with the names of the winning team, coaches, and management.

13. The Challenge Cup (1896) – Football

oldest sports trophies in the world

Challenge Cup is also one of the oldest sports trophies in the world. It ranks among the most prestigious awards in the Rugby Football League. Since 1896, it has been held every year with the exception of World War I and the seasons of 1939–1940. The Bradford silversmiths Fattorini & Sons designed the Challenge Cup trophy in 1897. The trophy, made of solid silver, was 36 inches high and rested on an 8-inch-deep base of black ebony.

Cup winners who care for the trophy must follow a specific code of conduct when caring for it. It even had its own seat on the plane when it flew to France for some Catalan publicity photos.

14. English Premier League Trophy (1992-93) – Football

10 oldest sports trophies

English Premier League is one of the oldest football leagues in the world. It has long dominated both Europe and the UK. Many well-known football legends joined the English fields in search of that trophy, which later inspired them to immortalize their team in league history. The trophy is made of silver, gilded silver, malachite, a priceless gemstone found in Africa, and other materials. It costs $10,000. Manchester City currently holds the previous season’s trophy.

Read Also: Top 10 Tallest Athletes in the World

15. Bundelisga Meisterschale  (1949) –Football

Meisterschale Bundesliga

This trophy was developed and designed by Bertoni in 1949 Since then, the trophy has been given to the champion of the second-tier club competition in Europe each year. The cup, which is primarily composed of silver, is resting on a base made of yellow marble and is 65 cm tall. The Meisterschale currently has room for titleholder names until 2027. 

All German league champions’ names have been inscribed on the shield-shaped trophy since 1903. The shield’s total weight is 11 kg, of which 71.98 carats are made up of tourmaline and the rest is silver and gold. Additionally, the total cost of the trophy is approximately $57,102. 

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